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  CSPAN    Public Affairs    News  News/Business.  

    May 14, 2013
    1:00 - 4:59pm EDT  

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who were receiving these questions from the i.r.s. to give them the benefit of the doubt and assume there was a lot of activity and it might take a while to provide sess it. and so i agree with that and i understand that, but there's a difference between processing it and figuring out how you're ing to hand it and marking educating on the constitution and the bill of routes, which ensures our free speech is dubious or red flag, that is absolutely, absolutely the wrong message the government needs to be sending to the people of this country. .
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when steven miller comes out and says anything at all, it makes it very difficult for us to trust him. this is the problem. this is one of the reasons why it's such a huge problem.
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the i.r.s. and these un-elected bureaucrats who are supposed to be public servants, serving the public and community and citizens of this country, abused their power. they abused their authority. when you abuse your authority and you abuse your power, the people in the country quit trusting you. and they brought this on themselves. so i -- it's very hard to trust anything he says. now, i understand that there are rules and laws that we have to work within those and the i.r.s. does have to do that. our organization at tea party patriots has erred so cautiously, we have done everything we can, probably limiting ourselves and not even fully doing what we are allowed to do through a 501-c-4 because of this process. yes, each case must be taken individually. they weren't doing that. they were grouping them all together. i really don't trust the i.r.s. at this point. and i think the american people should be very concerned about
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this. if it can happen to us, it can happen to any group and to any individual. host: let's listen to what the president had to say yesterday. his joint news conference with the prime minister of great britain. his comments on the i.r.s.'s investigations. >> this is something that i think people are properly concerned about. the i.g. is conducting its investigation. and i am not going to comment on their specific findings prematurely. but i can tell you that if you got the i.r.s. operating in anything less than a neutral and nonpartisan way, then that is outrageous. it is contrary to our traditions, and people have to be held accountable and it's got to be fixed. so we'll wait and see what exactly all the details and the facts are. host: you heard the president say people need to be held accountable.
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do you think that steven miller, lois lerner should have to step down? guest: i think that steven miller and lois lerner need to be terminated, not just step down. the american people need to know that the people who were involved in this are held accountable. that there are serious repercussions for doing this so nobody thinks that they can flirt with abusing power like this in this manner again in the future. and again, the president said if the i.r.s. did this, lois lerner on friday admitted they did this. steven miller from what you are saying in the "usa today" also acknowledges that the i.r.s. did do this. it's not a question of if. the i.r.s. did act inappropriately. guest: a tweet question -- guest: i don't know if any groups were denied i.r.s. tax
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status. i know there were groups who after they received these letters from the i.r.s. became so concerned, they don't have high powered washington, d.c. political attorneys, some of them just withdrew their applications all together because of the scrutiny and intimidation. and scrutiny is allowed. these letters were intimidating. every donor you ever had. everyone who has attended your meetings. facebook posts. comments on your facebook posts. in fact, you just tweeted this. for all i know back in 2012 they may have wanted to know what you had to say because you were interacting with me at all. that is not what the i.r.s. needs to be involved in. they also wanted to know all of our media appearances. every media hit we had? i guarantee you they would have wanted to know about you and who you are on twitter. that's not what they need to do. guest: pete next. long island, new york, republican caller. caller: i would like to thank you very much for your good work
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with the tea party. first of all i got involved with the tea party in 2009 when i saw my country in debt like it is spending like drunken sailors and worrying about the country. i went to a tea party rally in florida, 400 people were supposed to show up, 5,000 showed up. i think we should just keep on going. we should ask them where our tax money is going to these people that want to shake us down. communism or dictatorship this country is turning into. that's why the tea party is good. we should not be intimidated. i'm sorry. we should all stand up. we shouldn't even pay taxes, how about that? what they are doing. until they stop this nonsense. because we run the country. the hardworking people. the immigrants and all these people that come in here are just taking money from us. welfare, food stamps, you name it. it's a joke, thank you so much.
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bye. guest: all right. caller: thank you -- guest: i'm not encouraging people not to pay your taxes. keep paying taxes and obey the law. i am concerned about the abuse of power from within the i.r.s. pete, thank you for saying that. we were not intimidated at tea party patriots. we have good alternatives. we have donors who have been very generous and gracious to us and we have done everything we can to keep our commitments to our donors, work within the law, and work with our attorneys to do what we were supposed to do. but there were groups around this country who didn't have the same attorneys that we have. we made the attorneys, we did our best to make sure people knew they could speak to our attorneys. talk to our attorneys. and get advice, but some of the groups around the country were intimidated by the i.r.s. the i.r.s. even admits some of the people who applied after receiving these letters withdrew their applications. that is not how this process is supposed to work. host: nina tweets n what kind of train something your guest talking about what she says
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these tea party nonprofits quote, education and train? guest: we have done a lot of education and training. we do a lot on the constitution. we have worked with the national center for constitutional studies on teaching people about how the constitution came to be. about the founding fathers. what's in it. what are all of the amendments. we have also trained on the political process. on how you get involved in the political process. and training on how to get involved like how you do -- how you would maybe go door to door or how you run a campaign or how you lobby or do lenl activities. all of that -- legislative activities. all of that type of activity through the i.r.s. procedures and rules is considered training and education and that kind of activity is supposed to fall within a 501-c-3 organization. we can debate whether or not you should have rules and whether those should be the rules or not. i'm not here to debate whether that should or shouldn't be the
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rules. we were working within the rules and the government set up for us. host: that's the question on twitter. did tea party patriots abide by the rules and refrain from engaging in politics? guest: we never even endorsed a candidate. yes, we abided by the rules. in fact, our attorneys told us going into the election cycle last year after the national conventions for both the republican and democrats, that we could not even mention romney's name or obama's name. so we had to only talk about the issues. we were not talking about the candidates. you can -- there are videos that we had that we created we couldn't even do anything with because once we saw them, we realized they were not acceptable and may have been considered campaign activity. just interviews of people on the street. not -- it was documenting activity and interaction we had throughout the day. yes, weing er rules.
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our organization has been focused on legislative activity, grassroots lobbying which means we ask our supporters to call and engage their congressman and senators, and any election related activity we have done which is a small percentage of our activity that is allowed by the i.r.s.'s rules for 3501-c-4. all of those activities have been focused on issues not on candidates. host: your lawyers, have they said what your prospects are for a case against the government here? guest: they are researching that and honestly i have been working so much on the other things and making sure i understand what the time line is, there is so much breaking news with this, at the moment i haven't consulted with them since late yesterday afternoon. i'm not sure what our prospects are. i do know we are going to pursue it because we have to make sure that people who did this, that there is an example set so no one will use the i.r.s. as a political weapon again in the
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future. host: what's the next step for this case? for filing a case? for filing a case against the government? guest: the first and the more important next step is that there are hearings on friday in front of the house ways and means committee. and there will be more hearings in front of congress. frankly my most important concern is that we find out exactly what happened through the congressional hearing process and that the rules and laws are put in place to ensure this never happens again. then the secondary concern is what happened with damages to tea party patriots. we are pursuing that. for me right now my more important concern is that this doesn't happen to groups in the future. it shouldn't have happened to us. i want to make sure that the stage is set so it doesn't happen to anyone else. host: we know the house ways and means committee will have a hearing friday. do you know what other committees are planning hearings and investigations? guest: no, i have been contacted by some people in the senate.
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i know orrin hatch has talked about hearings. i'm not sure exactly who else is going to do it. i think that the hearing on friday will be the first hearing. and i think there will be more hearings after that. congress needs to understand how these citizens felt intimidate interested this. the i.r.s. was asking questions that -- whether they meant to or not, whether it was own insensitivity or deliberate, it intimidated the citizens and prevented citizens from fully exercising their rights. and congress needs to understand hat from the people who were a -- who were affected. host: we are just learning that the r.g.a., republican governors association leadership on tuesday called on president obama to a point a special prosecutor to investigate the i.r.s. targeting of conservative groups. this is from wisconsin governor scott walker and louisiana governor bobby jindal. to be blunt, this is big brother come to life in a witch-hunt to prevent americans from exercising their first amendment
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rights. your reaction? guest: i'm glad to see that the republican governors association is doing this. frankly i want to see democrats stepping up, too. this really, really is not a question about left versus right, republican versus democrat. this needs to be question for all americans, is this the kind of america you want to live-t in where you open up the papers where you see those in power in the government are using government agencies to intimidate the citizens. this is not how america is supposed to work. and we need people on both sides of the aisle to step up and president obama even said those who did this must be held accountable. i appreciate that about president obama. it's not left versus right. this is about the people who have the power in our country not abusing it and those of us who are the citizens being protected. that is how the country is set up. the citizens have the civic authority in our country. host: steve in indianapolis, democratic caller.
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thanks for waiting. caller: thank you. what makes this so sad is when i hear the guy called in earlier like pete and also -- you people as white folks must have been going around all these years with blinders on. this is nothing new. this is nothing new to the media. this is nothing new to those wh. this has been happening to us for years. during the bush administration, the same thing. ll of a sudden it happens to a conservative organization and very white person, republican, -- host: michael johnson tweets in, jenny beth martin, didn't this happen to the naacp? guest: my understanding that some things happened to the naacp, i have not fully asked all those questions. someone asked me about that yesterday on "hardball." if it happened in the bush administration, it's wrong. douglas shulman, the i.r.s.
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commissioner in the early part of last year, was appointed by president bush. if he was aware of this, he needs to be held accountable. i don't care who did it whether it's a republican or democrat. it's not about republican or democrat to me. so i agree that it doesn't matter whether it's republican, democrat, white, black, this is about people who have power in our country, who have authority in our country, not abusing that power. it does not need to happen to anyone. the i.r.s. is not a political weapon and it should not and will not be used as one again in the future if i have anything to do with it. host: texas, pat, independent caller. caller: hello, i'm surprised she's questioning this. if applicants were black, muslim, or lesbian gays they would be outraged they even have his special treatment. guest: as far as i can tell from the i.r.s. documents, the i.r.s.
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wasn't questioning groups like you just named. they were questioning groups with the words tea party or patriots or people who wanted to educate on the constitution or make america a better place. those are the ones that were being questioned. so the i.r.s. was being discriminatory in its actions. it should not be discriminatory towards any group. and, frankly, all the groups that you just mentioned, the way the rules are set up within a 501-c-4 they are allowed to advocate on issues. it shouldn't happen to any groups like that, either. we have the right in this country to express ourselves. we may disagree politically with our opinions, but one thing we should all be able to agree to is that we have the right to express those opinions. and when money is being spent, i understand that the i.r.s. wants to see how that works, they need to be -- they need to make sure that everything with money is on the up and up. when money is being spent, you have to spent it within the rules that are set up in the tax code. so again, that's how they are set up.
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we need to play want rules and no one should be discriminated against. host: janet, west virginia, republican caller. caller: yes. the things that's going on like with the press, i.r.s., ben gazzy, other things, there are many of them, it seems to me like t pthat supposed to be over these an know what's going on like holder, obama, they don't know anything. and they are just blaming on people under them. why do we need them if they don't know anything? i just don't understand what's going on in this country. i'm really worried about it. and all i can say is god bless this contry. guest: thank you for that, janet. and you're right, god bless america. and we it's a good question. how much did the people inside of the white house and the administration know? politico is reporting that the white house counsel knew about
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this, about the inspector general's investigation. so if the white house counsel knew about it, why wasn't the white house counsel letting the president know? wouldn't the president want to know these kinds of things? so why didn't the counsel know? was the counsel just not doing his job and reporting the information to the president or not? host: do you think this goes as high as the treasury secretary? the i.r.s. reports to the treasury secretary jack lew? should be he held accountable, possibly step down or forced to resign his post? guest: i don't know how much jack lew knew or didn't know. i know he's fairly new in his post. we'll have to see how much he's aware of. the fact of the matter is, when you have these kind of things happening, the management system and the supervisory system should be set up so that those above the front level and apparently mid level and the i.r.s. commissioners who did
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know about this, higher up should know about it as well. so if they didn't know, at the very least the internal practices within the i.r.s. should be scrutinized and adjusted. if he did know about itwas disc activity, and it was an ovree asng more information than they truly needed to know. they did not need to know every single time we ever spoke to the media and what was said. you can look at the fact that the a.p. had a wiretap on their phones or their emails recently. that should be very, very concerning for people who respect freedom of press in our country. as far as taxed enough already? that means automatically that the i.r.s. should be suspicious of us? why would that make us suspicious just because we don't want to pay more in taxes? it doesn't mean we are not paying what we are supposed to pay and that we are not working within the system that the i.r.s. has set up. so automatically just because there are people in this movement who say taxed enough already, that does not -- that's
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not a crime. that's not something that then automatically should be used against people. so i don't -- the answer is, no. if you're not doing what you're supposed to do it's one thing. just because you say taxed enough already and be responsible with the tax money that we send to the government, that is not a crime and should not automatically send red flags. host: jenny beth martin, you referenced this storery, made front page in the "new york times," phone records of journalistses seized by the united states. federal investigators secretly seized two months of phone o records for propertier reporters for the associated press and what the news organization said monday was a serious interference with a.p.'s constitutional rights to gather and report the news. back to our topic here about the i.r.s. ryan tweets in. guest: ryan, it's a really good question.
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the reason that we have to do this is because there are rules where the federal election commission and within the i.r.s. if you are collecting money and engaging in certain activities, you have to disclose those activities. it doesn't mean that i necessarily agree with it, i like simpler, more fair tax code and tax reform happen? absolutely. sure, i'd like to see that. the fact of the matter is for the past four years and before that, the rules have been set up the way they are and i have done my best to make sure that party patriots works within those rules. we can debate whether or not there should be tax exempt status for groups. that's a different discussion on tax reform. this is about how the i.r.s., whether they applied the rules equally and fairly to all involved, or whether they were treating some groups differently just because of their political ideology. host: we'll keep talking about this with our viewers, but i want to ask you about some other policy issues as well. the senate judiciary committee
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is marking up the so-called gang of eight's immigration reform bill. they'll continue with that markup this week starting today at 10:00 a.m. eastern time. we are covering it on c-span. what's your group's take on this effort? by tea party candidates like senator marco rubio, republican of florida? law, the this law -- not this bill, the amnesty and immigration bill, the process that the senate is going through reminds us so much of obamacare. it's such a big, big people. people have not fully understood exactly what's inside of it. how the law, if it is passed into law, how it will be enacted and what the consequences are, what the consequences on our budget will be. so we are questioning the entire process wanting to make sure that the senate and the house both fully understand everything that's inside of it and the implications of the bill. if they don't understand that, they shouldn't be approving it and passing it in the first
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place. and secondly, our stance on immigration has been and will continue to be secure the border first and once we know the border is secure, then come talk to us about all the other issues. this law does not do that. not law again, bill. bill does not do that. host:s welcome mat for prosperity. host: the truth of the assertion can be seen in the fappingt that high-wage countries of many immigrants such as which is switzerland, australia have high er participation rates and lower unemployment rates.
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host: on that -- on one part of his economic argument he's saying boosts u.s. productivity. guest: again, our stance on it has been secure the border first. so get the border secure and then come talk to us about all the rest. this law is over 860 -- bill is over 860 pages at this point. and we need to fully understand everything that's in it and the full implications of if -- it, if there are special breaks for groups of people versus others. if you come to this country apparently there is a provision in it if you come to this country to be a ski instructor or snowboard instructor you are given special provisions. there's -- bizarre themes in it and nobody knows every single detail of what's in it. we need the time to fully understand it. have town hall meetingorr first. once we get the border secure we can talk about all the other issues. host: do you -- are you opened
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to the idea that there is an economic benefit to immigration reform? richard continues to write in this piece in the "washington times" that, studies show that immigrants consistently -- host: are you opened to the idea of an economic benefit to the country guest: i don't know whether -- there may or may not be an economic benefit to immigration reform. whether there is actually an economic benefit to this particular bill i question quite a bit. but again our stance has been secure the border first. and then we'll go and talk about all the other issues with it. it's kind of like when the government says, oh, we'll increase your taxes, but we'll cut spending later. you can trust us on that. they don't cut spending. they may cut the percent of increase but they still increase spending every single time. so we don't trust them to actually go and cut spending later. we don't trust them to score the
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border later. secure it now and then come talk to us about everything else. host: you said this legislation does not secure the border right now. do you think if that is the legislation that passes and gets to the president's desk, do you think that hurts marco rubio's chances of possibly being a presidential candidate, nominee for the republican party in 2016? guest: we'll have to see what happens to his chances. i do know when you look at john mccain's track record and the things he's done, it certainly did not help him become the president of our country when he took stances in the past that are -- less fiscally responsible. marco rubio teaming up with john mccain may not be the best thing for him, but, again, where our concern right now is with the process and also with securing the border first. we are really not looking at it from how does this been fit one person or another to -- benefit
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one person or another to become president in 2016, what we are concerned about is what is the implications right now if you have yet another humongous bill going through congress that has the great potential to be another train wreck piece of legislation. host: kenneth, new orleans, louisiana, democratic caller. thanks for hanging on the line. caller: i was looking -- i was looking at lawrence o'donnell and he went through the text of the exempt status. none of those people, i believe, should be getting tax exempt status. i think she was trying to dance around the issue whether the tea party patriots group is a political group. and it is. it would have to have two brain cells to think that the tea party patriots are not a political group. there are tea party candidates. you mentioned one. marco rubio. you have rand paul. and they advocate for those people i'm sure. but at the end of the day,
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neither democrat, neither republican should have that status because it's not supposed to be a political issue. she advocated against the affordable care act. and even after it was passed, she continued to advocate against it. host: response, jenny beth? guest: listen, i have said this before i'm going to say it again. whether groups should or should not have tax exempt status, that's a question as far as overall whether any group, whether it's move on organizing for america, tea party patriots, whatever the groups are, whether you should be granting that kind of status, that question is a question for the tax codes. do we think maybe the tax system is far too complicated and should be simpler and more fair and reformed? that's one i think we can all agree on, people on "hardball" and msnbc and you, sounds to me we probably could find some
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agreement there is room to improve the tax code. now, as far as what makes a political organization political, i didn't make these rules. i didn't write them. i didn't write the laws. the rules or regulations. these are the things that the government has written and put into the tax code. i'm playing by the rules that have been given to me. >> all of that in our video library in c-span.org. we are taking you next to the justice department to hear from health and human services secretary and the attorney general on medicare fraud. >> good afternoon. thank you all for being here. today i'm spoin by secretary see 'llous from -- sebelius, assistant director for the f.b.i., he inspector general of the h.h.s. office of the inspector general, and dr. peter boudetti, deputy administrator for program integrity for the
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centers for medicare and medicaid services. ? announcing the latest steps forward in the federal government's ongoing efforts to combat fraud and abuse, our health care systems. as part of a coordinated nationwide takedown, this is the sixth that the medicare fraud strike force and its partners have conducted, this afternoon we announced charges against 89 defendants in eight different cities for their alleged participation in fraud schemes to submit more than $223 million in false billings to medicare. these defendants are accused of a variety of crimes involving the fraudulent use of medicare information obtained illegally from elderly or low-income individuals. the submission of false billings for treatments that were never performed or were performed by licensed individuals, and range of other schemes that place the safety of innocent people at risk in order to achieve illicit financial gain. the departments of justice and health and human services
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working alongside federal, state, and local partners will simply not tolerate such activities. we will use every appropriate tool and available resource to find, to stop, and to punish those who seek to take advantage of their fellow citizens. and our commitment to protecting the american people from all forms of health care fraud, safeguarding taxpayer resources, and ensuring the integrity of essential health care programs such as medicare and medicaid has never been stronger. four years ago this month, this commitment drove us to launch a new joint initiative known as the health care fraud prevention and enforcement action team, also known as heat. as a result of this groundbreaking initiative, we have leveraged the strength of key federal, state, and local partnerships in order to take our comprehensive fight against health care fraud to a new level. through the enhanced efforts of our criminal medicare fraud strike force, we bolstered our ability to identify and shut
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down fraud schemes across the country. and this work has yielded fully extraordinary results. as a result of strike force operations conducted since 2007, we filed charges against more than 1,500 individuals in connection with schemes involving over $5 billion in false billings. over the last three fiscal years, for every dollar we spent fighting against health care fraud, we have returned on average $8 to the united states treasury, medicare trust fund, and others. and our actions have helped to deter other would-be criminals from even attempting to defraud medicare. for example, after the strike force targeted group cycle therapy proud in detroit, we have seen amounts build to medicare for this type of treatment drop by more than 70% since january of 2011. just two years after strike force operations in miami identified and targeted widespread fraud in the home health industry and launched an
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initiative that led to numerous arrests and lengthy prison sentences. medicare billings for home health services in the state of florida dropped by more than $1 billion. and payments to providers fell by roughly $500 billion. -- $500 million. i'm really proud of this remarkable progress. we should be encouraged by the significant actions that we are announcing today, but we cannot et be satisfied. unfortunately our ability to keep this work to backfill political positions and strengthen strike force operations is being negatively impacted by sequestration, which earlier this year cut over $1.6 billion from the justice department's budget of fiscal year 2013. unless congress adopts a balanced deficit reduction plan and stops the reductions currently slated for 2014, i fear that our capacity to protect the american people from health care fraud, to safeguard
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vital programs, and precious resources, and hold criminals accountable will be further reduced. allowing these cuts would be both unwise and unacceptable. despite recent achievements, our work is really far from over. significant challenges lie ahead. that's why we must remain stead fast in our determination to strengthen current efforts and keep fighting to make the positive differences that our citizens need and that they deserve. i'd like to thank each of the approximately 400 law enforcement officials who made arrests, who executed search warrants, and otherwise participated in the investigative enforcement actions that made stayed's announcement possible. at this time i'd like to turn things over to another key leader of this work, my good friend, the secretary of h.h.s. >> thank you, general holder, and it's my great pleasure to join not only the attorney general but an amazing team of
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partners from the justice department, from the f.b.i., from our inspector generals office, in this recent takedown. today's takedown is the latest sign that we are beginning to turn the tide on medicare fraud. with greater collaboration and a stronger commitment than ever before. you just heard the attorney general describe how the law enforcement measures have increased anti-fraud prosecutions and led to record recoveries. we have done that by coordinating across agencies. we pooled resources and shared tools at our disposal. this takedown clearly shows that the affordable care act is one of the best tools we have to preserve medicare and to protect the tens of millions of americans who rely on it every day. one of the most important ways the law made a difference in these cases is by expanding our authority to suspend medicare payments and reimbursement when
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fraud is suspected. to better preserve the system and save taxpayer dollars. because of the affordable care act, we now can suspend medicare payments and reimbursements when there are credible allegations of fraud. it's that broader authority that helps us aggressively suspend payments and get results faster than in the past. and the power to suspend payments is just one of the many commonsense measures in the affordable care act that make it harder for criminals to submit fraudulent medicare claims and get paid in the first place. we are able to stop criminals earlier through license checks and unannounced site visits that screen providers and suppliers who pose a high risk of proud and abuse. the law increases penalties for medicare fraud. criminals now face tougher sentences and longer jail time. for fraud and for obstructing a fraud investigation. and the law supports our our tools that use advance
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technology like predictive and data analytics, to better identify where medicare fraud and abuse is happening the most. it's clear that the affordable care act safeguards medicare as the sacred trust and guarantee that it is to our seniors who have spent a lifetime paying into it. and while we know the range of ways criminals seek to violate that trust and shatter that guarantee, the taketown shows the range of ways we are willing to fight back. and beginning to beat them. today's announcement is just another great result of the partnership that's protecting the health of our seniors and families and the pocketbook of american taxpayers. and we are sending a strong, clear message across the country to anyone seeking to defraud medicare. you will get caught and you will pay the price. we'll sacred trust and earned guarantee. i want to stop there and turn the microphone over to acting assistant attorney general, the
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criminal division, who will provide more details on the takedown. >> thank you. today we are announcing charges against 89 defendants and eight strike force cities across the country. from brooklyn to miami, to detroit, to los angeles. these defendants are charged with having submitted over $223 million in fraudulent claims to the medicare program. as the attorney general said, this is our sixth national health care fraud takedown since 2010. as a result of these takedowns, we have charged nearly 600 defendants with fraudulently billing approximately $2 billion to the medicare program. today's defendants include as charged both the owners and operators of companies who participated in these fraudulent screams. as well as the physicians and numerous other medical professionals who helped them steal precious medicare dollars.
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in many of these alleged schemes, the fraudulent billings could not have occurred without a doctor signing off on bogus services or nurse or therapist filling out false paperwork. in fact, nearly 1/4 of the defendants charged as part of today's takedowns are doctors, nurses, physicians, physical therapists, and other medical professionals. and disturbingly today's actions also include charges against three individuals in detroit who although they were not licensed physicians, nevertheless allegedly held themselves out falsely as doctors. conducted examinations, wrote prescriptions for drugs including narcotic pain medications, and signed off on documents used in a multimillion dollar psycho therapy fraud scheme. several of the defendants charged today are also alleged to have targeted the less fortunate in executing their fraud schemes. our baton rouge strike force, working closely with the u.s.
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attorney's office in new orleans, charged five individuals in connection with the $50 million home health scheme in which the owners of the home health companies allegedly paid patient recruiters to obtain medicare information, often from low-income beneficiaries. in all of the charged fraud schemes, profit was the driving force. in one case, charged today, the defendant allegedly used his spoils to purchase a lamborghini, a if a rarry, other luxury vehicles, in addition to other properties in the miami area. we have made it part of our core mission at the justice department to hold accountable those who steal medicare dollars to line their own pockets. there are medicare fraudsters in prison across the country, some who will be there for decades. who can attest to our determination and our effectiveness. the criminal division intends to continue together with our partners at the u.s. attorneys' office, f.b.i., h.h.s., and our state and local counterparts to
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fight medicare fraud across the country in the same smart and efficient way we have been doing for the last several years. i would like to turn this over to one of our closest partners, assistant director of the f.b.i. >> thank you. good afternoon. as the attorney general and ecretarycy billous note -- see billous the strike force has seen success. our partnersships are bringing justice those billing to defraud public and private health plans. we are seeing health care crime of all types at all levels of providers. le it involves traditional provider fraud such as durable medical equipment, and numerous other providers to include home health care and mental health services. these crimes include individual providers as well as corporate level fraud schemes. since heat was created, we have increased the medicare fraud
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strike forces cities to nine, including baton rouge, brooklyn, chicago, dallas, detroit, houston, los angeles, miami, and tampa. to give you an example of one case, the owner and operators of a network of home health agencies in michigan were using prescription narcotics to bribe beneficiaries for use of their medicare information so that they could submit fraudulent claims. one statistic that should stand out to the general public, 23% of the people charged in this takedown are doctors and other medical professionals. those doctors were trusted by their patients with their well-being. instead, those doctors broke the law for their own benefit. we are committed to preventing and prrg -- prosecuting health care fraud at all levels and against all types of providers. we cannot do this alone. that's part of our message today. we need the public to take a few easy steps and help us stop
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fraud. first, everyone should report suspicious activity. as an example, marketers offering money or gifts to patients for medical services are suspicious then that should be reported. secondly, patients should review the explanation of benefits forms sent by your insurance company. they shouldn't be ignored. if you see bills for services you didn't receive, you should immediately contact your insurance company. thirdly, you should protect your insurance cards and numbers the way you would protect other credit cards and identifying information. make sure there's a legitimate reason that you give that information to anyone. we all feel that the effects of health care fraud. it inevitably leads to higher health care costs and makes it harder for seniors and those who truly need this help to get the care they need. we can work together to ensure your hard-earned dollars are used to care for the sick, and we can keep our nation's health
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care system strong for those who truly need it. now i'd like to turn the mike over to the inspector general for the department of health and uman services. >> thank you, ron, good afternoon. the scale of today's enforcement activity and the variety of schemes it disrupted illustrate the extent of our commitment to working together to bring to justice those who would defraud our health care programs. today's operation included nine medicare fraud strike force . ties -- cities it took down an array of health care fraud schemes, including familiar targets such as durable medical equipment, home health, community mental health, ambulance transportation, and medicare prescription drugs. tackling fraud of this scale and
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range demands a genuine team approach and a full partnership among law enforcement. and that's exactly what we sauted. i extend my deepest thanks and congratulations to o.i.g.'s special agents and to our partners at the f.b.i. and other federal, state, and local law enforcement personnel that made the operation such a success. and i also would like to express my special appreciation to the nine other inspectors general offices that provided personnel assistance for today's operation through the mutual assistance program. finally, while i cannot provide any details about these open cases, i note that alert citizens played a critically important role in helping combat the medicare fraud that we took action against today. i am pleased that more and more americans are recognizing that they can help make a difference in this fight. if you suspect medicare fraud, please report what you see to
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1-800-hhs-tips. that's 1-800-447-8477. thank you for your partnership. let me now turn the mike over dr. peter budetti from the c.m.s. >> thank you. as reported in the cases and charges filed today, intricate and ever evolving flawed lent schemes and practices are taking place across the united states. these schemes can take any number of inappropriate behaviors from once involving fraudulent prescriptions to falsifying patient files. today's mix of charges include schemes that involve fraudulent billing for services that were never provided. today's takedown is the result of dedicated commitment to a close working relationship between the centers for medicare and medicaid services and the rest of the department of health
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and human services and our law enforcement partners to root out fraud in the medicare program. this collaboration has been strengthened by the affordable care act which provided the centers for medicare and medicaid services with stronger tools that it needs to stop the flow of money while working to rid our programs of fraud, waste, and abuse. a key part of the new collaborative approach is the fraud prevention system whereby we use sophisticated, predictive analytics technologies to identify and prevent the payment of improper claims in the medicare fee-for-service system. as we identify allegations of fraud such as those identified today, they are investigated so that medicare can suspend payments to providers who may be involved in fraud. we have used this new authority extensively and today we are announcing that we are suspending payments to 20 of the individuals no coordination with the arrests announced here.
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c.m.s. has also doubled the number of providers removed from the program after the implementation of the new affordable care act screening rules, stopping the flow of money once and for all. as these fraud len activities and trends such as those identified today emerge, we work closely with our law enforcement partners to incorporate that information along with other factors into our predictive models and other analytic methodologies. to provide the most sophisticated and accurate analysis possible. as we keep improving our systems, we are increasingly able to spot fraudulent practices early on and prevent them from taking hold. this is good news for everyone. thank you. >> a few questions on the subpoena of a.p. phone records.
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did you sign off on this subpoena for two months' of a.p. phone records? if you did not because were you recused in that case, when did you recuse yourself and to whom did you delegate authority to make that decision? and a.p. yesterday wrote you a letter calling this a serious infringement on news gathering operations, a violation of the department's own guidelines, and asking you to return those records and destroy all copies. will you consider doing so? >> if i don't remember all the questions i'm sure you'll come back to me with those. i testified i guess back june, 2012, i had been interviewed by the f.b.i. in connection with this matter. and to avoid a potential appearance of conflict of interest, and to make sure that the investigation was seen as independent, i recused myself from this matter. we'll get to exactly when that happened. it was early on in the investigation. this matter has therefore --
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thereafter been conducted by the u.s. attorney here in washington, d.c., under the supervision of the deputy attorney general. the deputy attorney general would have been the one who ultimately would have authorized the subpoena that went to the a.p. now, i'm not familiar with all that went into the formulation of the subpoena. i was recuse interested that matter, but i'm confident the people involved in this investigation, who i know for a great many years and worked with for a great many years, followed all of the appropriate justice department regulations. and did things according to d.o.j. rules. >> you understand why people in the news gathering business such as us would find this troubling? >> well, as i said i don't know all that went into the formulation of the subpoena. this was a very serious leak. a very, very serious leak.
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i have been a prosecutor since 1976. i have to say that this is among if not the most serious, it is within the top two or three most serious leaks that i have ever seen. it put the american people at risk. that is not hyperbole. it put the american people at risk. and trying to determine who is responsible for that i think required very aggressive action. as i said i'm sure that the subpoena as formulated based on the people that i know. i don't know about the facts, but based on the people i know, i think that subpoena was done in conformance with regs. >> the a.p. said it found out about this after the fact. why was no attempt made to seek the a.p.'s voluntary cooperation? >> you are getting into matters beyond my knowledge. i was recused in the matter. i don't know. >> are you comfortable with that approach? ordinarily wouldn't protocol require that you would try to approach for voluntarily
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cooperation? >> i don't know what the circumstances were here. how things are done in a particular investigation have to be dictate bide the facts. i don't have the knowledge of those facts. >> the real question here, underlying question is the policy of the administration when it comes to the ability of the media to cover the news. i think the question for you is, iven the fact that this news organization was not given an opportunity to try to quash this in court as has been -- it leaves us in the position of wondering whether the administration has somehow decided policywise that it's kind of going to go after us. >> that is certainly -- i can talk about policy. that is certainly not the policy of this administration. if you will remember in 2009 when i was -- my confirmation hearings, i testified in favor of a reporter shield law.
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we as an administration took a position in favor of such a law. didn't get the necessary support up on the hill. it's something this administration still thinks would be appropriate. we have investigated cases on the basis of the facts. not as a result of a policy to get the press or to do anything of that nature. the facts and the law have dictated our actions in that regard. >> you said it's not hyperbole this put american lives at risk. if the underlying investigation was being run with the knowledge and hand of the u.s. government, why was there any risk to americans when that information came out? >> i can't answer that question. >> could you elaborate your decision to recuse yourself? >> towards the beginning of the investigation. perhaps we can get for you the exact date. i don't know when that was. as i said it was because i was one of the people who had knowledge of this matter.
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i have frequent contact with the media. so i had to make sure that this investigation was seen as one that was independent and to avoid even the possibility of an appearance of a conflict i made the determination to recuse myself. >> on the i.r.s. controversy, is there any concern -- >> what? >> the i.r.s. controversy, is there concern that criminal laws have been broken? if so have you ordered an investigation? >> i have ordered an investigation to be begun. the f.b.i. is coordinating with the justice department to see if any laws were broken in connection with those matters related to the i.r.s. those were i think as everyone can agree, if not criminal, they were certainly outrageous and unacceptable. we are examining the facts to see if there were criminal violations. >> you also recused from the -- >> i'm not going to comment on
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that. >> with the i.r.s. and a.p. situation a. lot of americans say they don't trust the administration right now. what can you say to them that they can trust all of you? >> to the extent that we have determined that actors in government have gone beyond what they were supposed to do, broken regulations, broken rules, broken the law we have prosecuted people. held people accountable. we have tried to do things according to the rules. there are going to be people occasionally who will not do so. it is then incumbent upon us who have enforcement responsibilities to make sure we hold those people accountable and i think our record shows over the last 4 1/2 years we have been -- we have done that. >> the regulations require needs to be drawn as narrowly as possible, do you believe whether it was a two-month period, 20 different phone lines s. that a narrow view? >> the deputy attorney general has written a letter in response
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to the a.p. letter. i don't know if it's been made available yet. that has a number of factual assertions in it. that contradict some of the assertions made by the letter that came from the a.p. i would refer you to that with regard to response to that question. >> the a.p. story, the i.r.s. ,tory, the guantanamo there are a growing sense this administration's record on civil liberties has not lived up to promises that you and others made beginning in 2008. it and the critsifments of past administration. -- criticisms of the past administration. looking broadly at this administration's civil liberties record, are you disappointed? why hasn't more been done? >> i'm proud of what we have done. the policies that we have put in place with regard to the war on terror, we decided that certain
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interrogation techniques were not going to be used. we have been i think very aggressive in our enforcement of the civil rights laws. there have been a whole host of things that this administration has done, this justice department in particular that are consistent with what i think the president campaigned on and what we promised at the beginning of this administration. >> those changed during the last administration. the president signed executive orders that effectively just continued what had already happened. there are so many other examples where people are disappointed in this administration, both on the left and the right, do you need to change course? aren't you tramming on civil liberties the same way the bush administration is? >> no, no we're not. this administration has put a real value on the rule of law and our values as americans. i think the actions that we have taken are consistent with both.
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if one looks at in a dispassionate way what we have done in a whole variety of areas, i found a more abundant civil rights division. and that is a division now that has brought record numbers of cases, protected record numbers of people. i will take issue with regard to how we have conducted the war on terror and with regard to interrogation policies. there were changes made by this administration. a repudiation of opinions that existed when we came in to office. we are talking about, i think, changes that were consistent with, as i said, what the president campaigned on and what we talked about early on. >> our coverage of the briefing continues online at c-span.org. the attorney general's set to testify tomorrow before the house judiciary committee. 1:00 p.m. eastern. we'll have live coverage of that for you on c-span3 and c
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spap.org. breaking away at this moment as the u.s. house graffles back in for general speeches momentarily and later this afternoon they'll return at 5:00 for work on three bills under suspension of the rules, including one dealing with a blue alert system, disseminating information about crimes against police officers. live coverage of the house here on c-span. in order. the prayer will be offered by our chaplain, father conroy. chaplain conroy: let us pray. we give you thanks, o god, for giving us another day. we ask your blessing upon this assembly and upon all to whom the authority of government is given. help them to meet their responsibilities enlightened by your eternal spirit. we gather after celebrating mother's day. we thank you for the gift of self, modeled by our mothers who chose to place each of us
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before themselves in giving birth to us and nurturing us as we grew. may we all earn the pride of our mothers in the service we provide to the benefit of this nation. there are many serious issues confronting our nation these days. may the truth be served and the nation's interests be met in the proceedings of this day. may all in a is done this day be for your greater honor and glory. amen. the speaker pro tempore: thank you, father. the chair has examined the journal of the last day's proceedings and announces to the house his approval thereof. pursuant to clause 1 of rule 1 the journal stands approved. the pledge of allegiance will be led by the gentleman from alabama, mr. brooks. mr. brooks: i pledge allegiance to the flag of the united
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states of america and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under god, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. the speaker pro tempore: the chair will entertain requests for one-minute speeches. for what purpose does the gentleman from south carolina seek recognition? mr. wilson: mr. speaker, i ask unanimous consent to address the house for one minute and to revise and extend my remarks. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, the gentleman is recognized for one minute. mr. wilson: mr. speaker, last week was very revealing about misstatements of truth from the white house. on wednesday, the administration was hefley criticized as the house committee of oversight and government reform held a hearing led by chairman do i recall issa to investigate the benghazi terrorist attack. additionally, on friday the i.r.s. secret operation to target conservative groups was admitted after three years of denial. thomas jefferson once said, quote, the whole art of
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government consists of the art of being honest, end of quote. as a congressional body, the united states house and senate have the obligation to carry oversight obligations. when situations arise where there is administration misconduct, we must pursue investigations to protect the american people. i look forward to working with my colleagues by demanding answers to the countless questions of intentional misrepresentations. in conclusion, god bless our troops and rell never forget -- and we will never forget september 11 and the global war on terrorism. the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentleman from alabama seek recognition? mr. brooks: mr. speaker, i ask unanimous consent to address the house for one minute. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, the gentleman is recognized for one minute. mr. brooks: thank you, mr. speaker. today i applaud the alabama legislature scottsboro boys act
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which granted pardons to eight african-american young men wrongfully accused in alabama in 1931. the scottsboro's boys case impacted america's civil rights movement and american law. in two different landmark decisions, the united states supreme court ruled that the constitution requires legal counsel for criminal defendants and held at arbitrarily excluding african-americans from jury pools was unconstitutional. it is never too late to call wrong by its name. as dr. martin luther king jr. wrote in his letter from birmingham jail, quote, injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere, end quote. i pray that the families of olin montgomery, ozzie poul, willie robinson, charlie, eugene and andy and roy may take comfort in alabama's full acknowledgment of the innocence of these wrongfully accused
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young men. the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentleman from oklahoma seek recognition? >> mr. speaker, i ask unanimous consent to revise and extend my remarks. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, the gentleman is recognized for one inute. >> mr. speaker, i stand before you today not only as a mib of congress but as a concerned business owner agered by the fact that obamacare may be putting my companies at financial risk. currently, those businesses employ over 120 people in the state of oklahoma. because of the size of these companies, when obamacare is fully implemented, it will mean an immediate cost of over $200,000 for that business. i ran for congress because i got fed up with the federal government becoming my biggest threat. the president says he wants to grow the economy and encourage job creation. but in reality, he's punishing those who are trying to thrive. as a business owner, you are penalized $100,000 for hiring that 50th employee.
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obamacare's the number one threat to businesses in oklahoma and across this country. mr. mullin: this week we'll vote to repeal this law along with the harmful new mandates and tax hikes. for the sake of the country's job creators, we must repeal obamacare. i urge my colleagues to join me and america in putting america back in business. mr. speaker, i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentleman from texas seek recognition? mr. burgess: mr. speaker, i ask unanimous consent to address the house for one minute and to revise and extend my remarks. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, the gentleman is recognized for one minute. mr. burgess: thank you, mr. speaker. the constitution allows the congress, specifically the house of representatives, to hold the purse strings of the federal government. not the executive branch, not the federal agencies. this week we've heard reports that the secretary of health and human services has been calling executives from the industries that she regulates asking them to donate money to
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a group called enroll america, a private organization that makes the president's health care law a success by signing up individuals through coverage in the exchanges. the anti-deficiency act prohibits the federal government departments from making greater expenditures in a fiscal year than those provided by the congress. and so it begs the question, what is the secretary promising to corporate executives in exchange for their funding of this a.c.a. implementation? this continues the question of ethical conduct by the secretary all to further the administration's controversial agenda. let's review, in 2012, the u.s. office of special counsel said that she violated the hatch act. they raided the a.c.a.'s prevention of public health and now businesses that she regulates, she's seeking money to prop the president's takeover of american health care.
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mr. speaker, i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentleman from indiana seek recognition? >> mr. speaker, i ask unanimous consent to address the house for one minute and to revise and extend my remarks. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, the gentleman is recognized for one inute. >> what a week, mr. speaker. a benghazi cover-up, the i.r.s. targeting conservative groups and now the department of justice found spying on the associated press. mr. messer: the scandals from this administration are coming so fast that the american people can barely keep up. and this pattern of arrogance, lies and outright lawlessness should be disturbing to every american. mr. speaker, the american people demand the truth, and this congress is duty-bound to make sure they get it. congress must act now and investigate each of these
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scandals. some may call it political, but there is nothing political about keeping the oath of every member of this chamber to protect and defend the united states constitution. there is nothing political about working to ensure that none of these scandals gets swept under the rug. thank you, mr. speaker. i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentleman from pennsylvania seek recognition? >> mr. speaker, i ask unanimous consent to address the house for one minute and to revise and extend my remarks. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, the gentleman is recognized for one minute. >> thank you, mr. speaker. mr. speaker, i rise today to express my outrage at the behavior of the i.r.s. last week the i.r.s. admitted that it targeted organizations based on group names and political ideologicals. based on their conservative leanings exthese organizations were forced to tell their donor
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lists. requirements the i.r.s. did not extend to other groups seeking similar treatment under the tax code. these actions are unacceptable. i.r.s. officials cannot in person or organization's constitutional rightsimply becausof a ff political ideological. we expect our government to be a guardian of rights. mr. rothfus: those violation of the public's trust must be held accountable. i.r.s. employees and officials are public servants, and those involved with this scandal have violated a fundamental percept of public service. thank you, mr. speaker. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. pursuant to clause 12-a of rule 1, the chair declares the house in recess until approximately 5:00 p.m. today.
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of the conservative political groups. in that briefing the attorney general said the behavior was, quote, outrageous and unacceptable, but the quote, we're examining the facts to see if there were criminal violations. that briefing available on our h mcconnell, the republican
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leader, star the day today by talking about that -- the allegations against the i.r.s. going to show you what he had to say until we hear from the majority leader, hopefully in the next minute or two.
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we'll show you the comments from mitch mcconnell in just a few moments. we're live outside the u.s. senate as reporters hear from majority leader harry reid. they'll gavel back in shortly to continue debate and a cloture vote coming up on the water projects bill in the senate. the house, meanwhile, back at 5:00 for their legislative work this afternoon. later on this week in the house, they will take up a bill thursday sponsored by michele bachmann of minnesota calling for a full repeal of the 2010 health care law. and the house will finish the week with a bill by scott garrett of new jersey that requires the s.e.c. to conduct a cost-benefit analysis on regulations. that's in the house later this week. and now we'll show you the comments from mitch mcconnell.
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we had some technical difficulty with that video. we do have that on our website at c-span.org. again, waiting to hear from the majority leader, harry reid. elsewhere on capitol hill today, the judiciary committee in the senate, second day of markup on the immigration and border security bill. they will be back shortly at 2:45 eastern to continue that markup. you can follow that online at c-span.org. house republicans, some house republicans today announced their opposition to that now over on c-span 2. ahead of the senate returning
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and also obviously a briefing we covered today in our video library at c-span.org.
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the judiciary committee's committee has been meeting to mark up. their second day of markups. senator graham earlier in that debate commented on an amendment enor sessions that deals with biometric i.d. for entering and exiting the u.s. here's what he had to say. they were stopped by the police and not had a system to see if this person was here illegally. to me that problem has to be addressed in light of the world in which we live. current law is a concept. and there is apparently not a whole lot of will by republicans or democrats to make the concept a reality. we had the congress -- excuse me -- the white house from 2000 to 2008 on our watch.
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apparently we didn't move forward. and at the end of the day, biometric identification of people coming and going i think would be a good thing, but what we've done is taken the current system and made it better. now, if you want to spend multiple billions of dollars to have a biometric entry-exit system, count me in for moving in that direction, but i would just say to my good friend, senator sessions, check in your wallet and see how many biometric cards you have. how many driver's license are biometric. biometric? e card my military card is not biometric. i'm not saying that it's better. i'm saying it's generally not deployed throughout the country. >> would my colleague yield for one quick point? >> yes. >> so senator grassley
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mentioned disney world. disney land or disney world. it is true that disney world used a fingerprint and then when disney land went ahead to use that system, they went to a picture because they thought it was better. making my colleague's case. >> i don't know. i'm too busy to visit either. >> senator graham, this is my driver's license from vermont. no photo, nothing. >> i would suggest you improve that in vermont. [laughter] >> no. i kind of like it the way it is. >> but here's the point. senator schumer and i originally wanted a biometric social security for employer verification because senator feinstein's right, if you like ronald reagan or you picked the democrat you'd like to be named after, i can make you that person under the current social security system in about an hour. it costs you less than $100. when it came to employer verification, i think everify will work, but the best system
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for all of us in the country to turn our paper card into a biometric document to protect american jobs, but we're not going to do that because it costs so much money and it's going to take a long time. but count me in for getting there one day. senator sessions, count me in for having a biometric system applied to he wantry-exit visa program, but we just -- entry-exit visa program, but i'd say the current system is not where we need to be. current law, no one seems to be driving toward that goal. we've had a lot of time to do it. our bill definitely in my view improves the current system to make us all safer. >> senate judiciary committee from earlier. that biometric amendment failed. the hill reporting that senator rubio explaced -- expressed disappointment today after they
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tried to strengthen the system for tracking visa holders entering and exiting the scun. just want to remind you, -- exiting the country. just want to remind you that the judiciary committee committee will be gaveling back in at 2:45 over on c-span3 and c-span.org. we're looking outside the u.s. senate, hoping to hear from the majority leader, harry reid, in just a couple moments, it looks like. we'll stay here live. >> a little more here than i usually have. i knew you'd ask the question o i'll try to answer them now. we all know there are a number of big issues we need to deal with and deal with them now. today, secretary defense hagel announced there's going to be 800,000 civilian defense employees furloughed. 800,000. our economy's still not
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creating jobs as fast as we would like, and republicansthat faith and credit of the united states hostage again. these are the issues that matter to middle-cl americans. pocketbook issues. that's important in nevada and across the country. and yet republicans are talking about everything but pocketbook issues. once again, middle-class americans are seeing americans focus on everything but issues they care most about. but if republicans insist on talking about these other issues, let's talk about them. what the i.r.s. did, of course, is inexcusable. but this is not the first time we've seen this. wasn't long ago that the i.r.s. inappropriately targeted the naacp, greenpeace and a california church who was really progressive.
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called the all saints church in pasadena, california. it was interesting at that time we didn't hear a single republican talk about the issues then. where was the outrage when groups on the other side of the political spectrum were under attack? i believe we need to take action, to stop this inappropriate behavior at the internal revenue service. i believed it then, i believe it now. i have aspoken with the chairman of the finance committee and -- i've spoken with the chairman of the finance committee and i've asked him to hold hearings soon. we of course we need to wait until the inspector general's report is completed. they expect that to be within a week or 10 days. but there's another issue at stake here, and we cannot lose sight of this. there are the shadowy,
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political groups masquerading as social welfare organizations n order to solicit anonymous donations from we don't know who, big corporations and also wealthy people that needs to stop. we do not know exactly how much money was spent in the last election by these groups. and i acknowledge most of the money was spent on the right wing, but there was plenty on the left wing. it's said to be almost $1 have n, and i ask, what we done to improve the social welfare of the united states? that's what these shadowy organizations are supposed to do. that's what their charter says. his organization, rose organization, has one purpose and one purpose only and that's
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to defeat democrats. anyone who thinks otherwise is being willfully foolish. preventing overtly political groups, like the ones run by karl rove, from masquerading a social welfare, social welfare organizations is really a critically important task. these groups are on the left or -- whether these groups are on the left or the right, but the i.r.s. may not be the right organization to perform the task but perhaps what we haven't done leaves that organization as the only one to look to. n 2010, we advanced, democrats advanced something called the disclosed act which would take the i.r.s. from out of investigating these groups. not a single republican voted with us on the disclose act. so again i ask, where was the outrage of the republicans then? we should take another look at the disclose act. we must stop the abuses of the
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i.r.s. we must crack down on efforts by karl rove and others to exploit our tax code and pour unlimited amounts of money into our political system, asquerading as social welfare. ok. let's talk now about benghazi which is an issue that republicans continue to talk about. remember this is an issue that one of the hill newspapers said speaker boehner was obsessed with it. they're hyperventilating about benghazi. president obama was absolutely right to call this a side show. this is about smear politics and nothing else. ' re was the republicans outrage on this? well, earlier this year they didn't say a word when
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republicans held up for months security funding at our embassies? we have thousands of marines we're trying to fund. that's being held up. these marines would go to our embassies. again and again, republicans have blocked, opposed or reduced security funding and they continue to support the sequester which would further reduce embassy security funding. so again, where is the outrage on this? the real fact is that the republicans are more concerned about giving president obama a black eye and taking shots at secretary clinton than actually talking down the people who perform these outrageous acts of terrorism and bringing them to justice. instead of securing our diplomatic post, republicans want to deplate who changed talking points. and one need only look at "the new york times" today and read republican conservative
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columnist david brooks. he outlines it pretty well saying this is just not right what they're trying to do. the president's made it clear his focus is on bringing these terrorists to justice. recommendations headed by ambassador pickering who will go down in history as one of the best foreign service officers this country's ever had, and, of course, the patriotic admiral mullin. and the state department implementing the recommendations right now as we speak. in the senate the committees of jurisdiction have investigated this issue extensively and heard testimony from those involved. but, again, i ask, where were the republican outrage, where was it when dozens of attacked posts were under president bush? 64 posts were attacked under the bush administration. this is about generating
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headlines and campaign foughter for republicans and nothing else. i've read, i repeat, that my colleague, speaker boehner, is obsessed with these attacks, benghazi attacks. he wants to say they're ignoring the middle class in order to roar up the tea party, it's his choice. it's a wrong choice of our economy and the interest of middle-class americans. finally, the associated press. i have trouble defending what the justice department did in looking at the a.p. now, i really believe in the first amendment. i think it's one of the great things we have as a country, it was done, but it's d it or inexcusable and there's no way to justify this. i in my career, i stood
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consistently for freedom of the press, encroachment by the national security committee, i am going to continue to do that. it's an issue i feel very strongly about and look into further -- i will look further for legislative action needed o secure freedom of the press. ok. i answer all your questions? >> [inaudible] >> no. giving you my opinion. i think someone from the justice department could have gone to the a.p. and said, can you help us with this? they said, no, fine.
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they went a step further. >> the i.r.s. matter, is it possible that some of your colleagues tried to get a handle on 501-c-4's -- [inaudible] >> i really don't know. all i know is when you have most $1 billion spent on affecting good things socially, the american people, this isn't one of them. i believe -- i don't want to get into too much of the technicality of this. the law is very, very clear that these organizations are to devote their time to the word - the actual word. social welfare. i couldn't come up with the word. very clear. the i.r.s. frankly changed it.
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i think they had no right in the law to do so but they changed it, so it's now somewhat confusing and it shouldn't be. when we passed the law, it was very direct what it means. i think it's awful. i repeat, almost $1 billion -- i said that three times here -- spent in these campaigns. that was how awful and we have to do something about it. whether liberal groups being -- raising that money or conservative groups. >> the term of the commissioner of the internal revenue service lapse in november. has there been any conversation with the white house about there being someone nominated in charge of that agency or anything of that sort? >> my republican counterpart thought he thinks the
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commissioner should resign. the person assigned to this was the republican appointee during the bush years. there is word of getting a permanent person there. to have some temporary guy resign -- his name is miller. as far as i know he's done a good job. he'll talk with me in a few days. i look forward to hear from him. >> [inaudible] >> who did that? >> the attorney general. do you think it was an appropriate step? > i don't have any idea. >> a resolution recently about abortion in light of this trial, the doctor up in philadelphia. and senator lee has reduced a bill that would restrict abortion after 20 weeks in the district of columbia. would you support lee's bill or do you oppose it? >> listen, and i know you all -- what led to
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these convictions of murder for this man is the fact that people have been pushed back into these holes to do something that's legal. i think that all this picking of these clinics and throwing chemicals into them to make them so they can't use them, can't get the chemicals out, all these restrictive laws, the law of the land is now what the supreme court has said. i think to keep pushing these clinics back into the situations where they wind up like this is wrong. i think no matter how you stand on the issue of abortion, people who make that decision should do it and not have to be worried about infections and some butcher like this doing the bad things they do. they should be in a place that's clean and sterile and have people that know what
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they're doing and care about hat they do. >> [inaudible] fundraising and campaign issues in 2014? >> i think i outlined how i feel about that. last question here. >> senator reid, the sexual assault in the military. [inaudible] do you think the community should know what's going on? do you have any information -- [inaudible] >> i think the more we learn about people who are sexual abusers the better off we are. .y daughter lives in virginia by requiring of law in her neighborhood, there's a sexual predator there, so she's very careful where my granddaughter goes out, who she goes with. so i think the more we learn, the more transparent we are
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with people who sexually exploit people, sexually abuse people, the better off we are. that's why i spoke here last week and said i believe that the military, when they -- there is a charge brought against someone and that person in a proceeding that's competent in the military, i don't think it's right when the commanding officer reduces the sentences. i think the more we look at it the better off we are. steve, i didn't know that military bases aren't reporting what takes place there. i think they should for the protection not only for the people on the military base but for the protection of the public generally. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2013] >> a cloture vote next in the u.s. senate. the majority leader answering questions on a couple of issues. on one of those, the attorney general today, this afternoon,
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has said that he has ordered an investigation to begin into the i.r.s. scrutiny of conservative political groups. we'll stay here live with the minority leader, mitch mcconnell. >> ok. good afternoon, everyone. i want to make a few observations about the administration's abuse of power . we now have focused the attention of everyone, including all of you, on the lengths to which the administration's willing to go to quiet the voices of its critics. my colleagues, including senator hatch, our ranking
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member on the finance committee, will focus at least to some extent on the i.r.s. i want to topic a broader picture here. over the last year, actually going back to 2009 now when i think about it, we've seen the efforts of the administration to quiet the voices of their critics. back during the debate on obamacare, it was the directive by the secretary of h.h.s. to health insurance companies that they could not tell their customers, those who bought their products, what they thought about obamacare. a directive from the secretary of h.h.s. quieting the voices of critics of obamacare. now you've noticed the secretary's out raising money from the private sector, people who are dependent upon the government's regulations, to help the government convince
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the public that obamacare is a good measure. we've had examples of initiatives over at the securities and exchange commission, the federal communications commission and, of course, continuously at the f.e.c., to engage in the kind of government regulatory activity that is targeted at silencing the critics of the administration. i'm not being critical of all of you but most of you haven't paid much attention to any of that but now i think you get it and i think the american people get it because everyone understands what the i.r.s. is. many people think the most powerful agency of the federal government with the ability to literally put people out of business. we've seen what they can do, and there is a measure that i
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expect we'll see from the democrats, because we saw it in the previous congress and the one before that called the disclose act which is designed to give the i.r.s. even more to quiet the voices of the critics of this administration. it's important that not only that legislation be defeated but that administration get the message that the federal government should not be used to quiet the voices of the critics of the obama administration. let me turn to senator hatch and particular on the i.r.s. issue. >> let me just say this. i've never seen anything quite like this expect in the past during the nixon years. what the i.r.s. asserted on friday is simply not true. it wasn't just some lonely staffers in the cincinnati office. in fact, that's a pretty
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important office in the i.r.s. very senior management at the i.r.s. here in washington knew what was going only for over a year and they didn't even say a word. in fact, after the i.r.s. leadership learned of this, they sent congress letters saying that the targeting of conservative groups wasn't happening. this was either one of the greatest cases of incompetence that i've ever seen or it was the i.r.s. willfully not telling congress the truth. at no point in time did anyone at the i.r.s. think it appropriate to set the record straight. not at one point. the american people deserve the truth. there is no single agency in government that has the power that the i.r.s. has. they can destroy people, and frankly this is an agency that can create more fear in the hearts of people than any other agency. what we need to know -- let me
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mention three things. why didn't the i.r.s. correct the record once it became clear conservative groups were targeted? i sent them at least three letters on this. how high on the chain of command in the obama administration did this go before it was revealed that this was happening last friday? why did it take a treasury inspector general report to get the i.r.s. to own up to this? these are questions that have to be answered. there's a reason congress is the co-equal branch of government. something i wonder if the administration fully appreciates. and we are going to fully examine what they are doing to ensure the people of our nation have confidence that we are looking out for the public and for the public interest. senator baucus said he's willing to hold hearings on this, willing to look into this, willing to get into itand. we're talking about liberty here. we're talking about the right of freedom in america, and if
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we can manipulate the i.r.s., if the administration can do that or anybody in the administration or anybody in the i.r.s. can do that, then everybody in this country's got to be very, very fearful, and freedoms will be lost, liberty will be lost and we'll all be he worse for it. >> by any measure, it's been a tough few days for the administration. the president today got four pinocchios on his story on benghazi from "the washington post." we also know obviously that the statements were made to members of congress that the i.r.s. was not targeting political speech that the administration disagreed with is absolutely false. and we learned from gallup that half of small businesses are saying that the implementation of obamacare is hurting their business, not helping.
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but in 2011 and 2012, i had constituents in texas, groups like king street patriots, that the tea party groups from waco and san antonio and organization called true the vote who reported to me they felt like they were being targeted by the internal revenue service, and of course, that resulted in among other things a letter that senator hatch and i and others wrote and protestations by the commissioner of the i.r.s. saying, no, it was absolutely false. well, now we know that my constituents were telling the truth. they were targeted for their political views, and what we were told by the commissioner of the internal revenue service was false. i am applaud senator baucus and senator hatch on a bipartisan basis saying that the fan committee was going to look -- finance committee was going to look into this as far as the i.r.s. is concerned. i hope all standing committees in the senate who have jurisdiction over the s.e.c., the f.e.c., h.h.s. and of course the i.r.s. will on a
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bipartisan basis get to the bottom of this and find out where it leads. >> for an administration that promised to be the most transparent in history, the obama administration is -- has a credibility gap that's growing at an alarming rate. we know there are senior administration officials that knew about the bullying of conservative-leaning organizations. "the washington post" is reporting that confidential information in those conservative organizations were released to pro-publica. if you look at the various things that the leaders have mentioned, whether it's fast and furious or benghazi or the s.e.c. or the f.c.c., you go right down the list, this is an administration that's playing fast and loose with the rules and should be a concern for all americans. and just as a personal example of this, last month i sent a letter to the e.p.a. because the obama administration had released the information on
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80,000 farmers and ranchers to some liberal environmental groups and that included names, addresses, phone numbers, geographic coordinates, all kinds of information. 500 farm or ranch families in south dakota were impacted by that. it's just another example of an administration that has gotten out of control when it comes to this abuse of power. and i think that this is something that ought to concern every american and hopefully as the -- as was pointed out, these investigations and hearings get under way, we'll get more of the facts out there for the american people to have at their disposal, but this is a pattern that is very, very concerning and one that i think every american who cares about the bill of rights, every taxpayer in this country ought to be very concerned about. >> the president's health care law, i've been saying, it's bad for paychecks, it's bad for patients and it's bad for jobs. and now with revelations this
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last week, there's an additional dark cloud over the health care law. one relates to the i.r.s. these are the folks that are supposed to enforce the health care law. if you go to one of the exchanges to go to get insurance, the form that you actually send in goes to the i.r.s. i can't imagine the american people are going to be delighted hearing about what misuse of power we've seen from the i.r.s. and wanting to entrust them with their own health care. and the i.r.s. is hoping to hire up to 15,000 additional agents to enforce the president's health care law. the second is that of kathleen sebelius, the secretary of health and human services, who has been going to private companies asking for money to then use to promote the president's health care law. this is what i call the sebelius shakedown, and what i want to know is what is she promising those businesses that she talks to and what is she threatening them with. remember, kathleen sebelius has
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been found in violation of the hatch act during the 2012 presidential election. now she's shaking down companies' executives throughout the country. why? looking for money to cover up the train wreck that's happening with the president's health care law. >> well, as a couple of you said, nothing scares the american people like the three letters, i.r.s. if the reports of the last 24 hours is true, including one that senator hatch just made about writing the i.r.s. and getting misinformation about, the report yesterday was that the acting commissioner, steven miller, learned about this in may of 2012 and in responding to members of the house, members of the senate and a committee in the house, failed to answer the question with information he had. if that's true, if he was aware
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that conservative groups was targeted and was asked about that and gave incorrect information, he should step aside or be removed. and in is something we shouldn't tolerate. the administration shouldn't tolerate it and the american people wouldn't want us to tolerate it. >> last wednesday in the appropriations subcommittee that has the responsibility for the appropriations force the secretary of the treasury, asked ng the i.r.s., i secretary lew to respond to me on allegations information had been released by the i.r.s., quote, inadvertently, unquote. i'm awaiting answers to those questions. every american should expect even-handed treatment by the internal revenue service. that is now in question, and it lends credibility to the reports, both in the press and by our constituents and organizations across the country that information
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related to their donors were released to organizations that have opposite political points of view of those organizations. and so i think the story continues, not only is it terriblery inappropriate that the i.r.s. would treat applications by one politically-leaning organization differently than know, but now it lends credibility to the stories, the belief that information is being released by the i.r.s. for purposes of political persuasion. every american should be able to expect even-handed treatment from the internal revenue service and that clearly is not the i.r.s. or the administration we have. >> before taking a few questions, let me just add one thing. as you continue to file your stories on this subject, ask yourself before you write, how would i be writing this story if this were a republican administration? be happy to take a few questions. >> a lot of republicans were
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calling for more of a crackdown on the leaks of national security administration information, and i just wondered if this subpoenaing of phone records is the kind of crackdown that you all had in mind? >> well, my colleagues can speak for themselves. it strikes me this justice department inquiry will go forward and we'll look forward to seeing what, if anything, comes from it. >> senator mcconnell, as least as far back as 1987, you were pretty dubious to the social welfare for social welfare groups, regardless what appears to be the even unhandling here, does congress and the i.r.s. need to take another look at whether or not these groups should get social welfare status? >> as i've said consistently for over two decades and now the supreme court has underscored, you have a right to engage in the political debate in this country. even corporations have a right
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to engage in the political debate. prior to the citizens united case, for example, there was a special carveout for corporations that own all of you. you can say anything you wanted o at any time about any of us, but if there was a corporation that owned a media outlet you couldn't. we have a system under which people are able to fully discuss their grievances. we have a government that spends $3.6 trillion a year. it's big enough to adversely impact all of us. and people are entitled, not only to petition the congress for redress of grievances under the first amendment, but to say whatever they choose to in criticism or praise about any of us. next question. paul. >> do you feel there is some ort of special investigation
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[inaudible] >> are you talking about the i.r.s.? >> yeah. >> i feel there will be a full congressional investigation. apparently there is a bipartisan desire on the finance committee to look at i.r.s. chairman camp has indicated in the house and majority leader cantor they intend to fully investigate it. there are lots of questions. i think congress is fully capable of conducting an independent review of what went on, and we anticipate that they certainly will do that in the house. and if chairman bachus meant what he said, i'd assume that would be done in the senate as well. thanks a lot. >> and just an update on that attorney general holder earlier said he ordered an investigation into the i.r.s. scrutiny of those conservative political groups. the attorney general testifying
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tomorrow on capitol hill. we'll have live coverage of that. a hearing on friday looking at the i.r.s. we'll have live coverage of that as well. also want to let you know the congressional budget office reporting today that the 2013 deficit is set to shrink less, much less than prior estimates to $642 billion. we've linked to that entire report on our website at c-span.org. u.s. house coming in at 5:00 eastern this afternoon. they'll take up three bills and votes at 6:30. we'll have live coverage here on c-span. 5:00 eastern. also this afternoon, just getting under way, the senate judiciary committee has gaveled back in to mark up the immigration and border security bill. you can follow that live on c-span3. also online at c-span.org. the issues of the justice department investigation, the phone records of the associated press reporters and editors, also of the i.r.s. investigation into conservative political groups dominated the white house briefing earlier
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today with jay carney. >> good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. thank you for being here. i appreciate your attendance, and i have no announcements to make at the top. so i'll go straight to the associated press. >> thanks, jay, for stating the obvious. the white house right now is going through issues. benghazi talking points, i.r.s. reviews of political groups, phone records. in every instance, either the president or you have placed the burden of responsibility someplace else. on the benghazi talking points, it's been political motivations on the hill. on the i.r.s., it's been the i.r.s. on the justice department issue, yesterday your statement, you said those matters are handled independently by the justice department. but it is the presidented a --
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president's administration. isn't set really tone and setting direction ultimately rest with the president on these matters? >> well, the responsibility to set tone and to focus on the priorities of the american people is absolutely the responsibility of the president, and you see and hear im do that every day as he fulfills his duties as president. i think you have to separate these issues. i think if you look at the answers the president gave yesterday in response to questions on the one hand about the clear political circus that benghazi has become and his response to questions about the reports of activity by the i.r.s., i think you see something different. he made clear that if the reports about the activity of i.r.s. personnel prove to be true, he would find them outrageous and he would expect that appropriate action be
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taken and that people be held responsible. he has no tolerance for targeting of specific groups, conservative groups, if the reporting is true on this, and he would expect action to be taken. but this is a matter when it comes to the i.r.s. that is under review by the independent inspector general. we have not seen that report. it is our understanding that its release is fairly imminent. once we have that report we'll be able to assess next steps. so at this point we have to wait for the action of an independent investigator, if you will, the inspector general, before we can jump to conclusions about what happened , whether there was a liberate targeting of groups inappropriately and if that's the case, what actions should be taken, but you can be sure,
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and i point you to the president ace responses yesterday, what his feelings about this kind of action if it in fact took place. is a issue of what department of justice investigation as i understand it. the president is a strong defender of the first amendment and the need for the press to be unfettered in the ability to conduct investigative reporting and to facilitate a free flow of information. he of course recognizes the need for the justice department to investigate alleged criminal activity without undue influence. as i said yesterday in my statement, other than press reports, we have no knowledge of any attempt by the justice department to seek phone records of the associated press. we are not involved at the white house in any decisions made in connection with ongoing criminal investigations. as those matters are handled appropriately by the justice
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department, independently. and i understand there are a lot of questions about the reports about d.o.j.'s actions, and from my background i understand them well, but in this situation where the department appears to be conducting a criminal investigation, it would be wholly inappropriate for me to have answers to those questions. i don't have them, and i have to refer you to the department of justice. >> go back to the i.r.s. issue, the president did use the word if activities were taken place. there has been acknowledgment on the part of the i.r.s. leadership that these things did indeed occur. so i wondered why the president used that phrasing in claiming it was outrageous -- >> well, that was the i.r.s. spoken about this. obviously have much greater insight than we do. we have not seen the romp. we have not independently collected information about what transpired. we need the independent inspector general's report to be released before we can make
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judgments. you know, one person's view of what actions were taken or what that individual did is not enough for us to say something concretely happened that was inappropriate. i think if you look at some of the s been said, you know, actions were inadvertent or not or constituted something that was specific and inappropriate or not, and i think what we have to do responsibly is wait for the independent inspector general's report to be released before we assess next steps. . the president was very clear that if there was deliberate, specific targeting of groups, that would be outrageous and would require in his view action be take. >> and that action would be -- there would be something the white house could do unilaterally? >> we'd have to see what the next steps are because obviously there is a significant amount of
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independence of the i.r.s. obviously as well as the neig and we have to wait for what the i.g. assesses before we can decide what next steps might appropriately be taken. >> jay, it's not clear that senior tax officials knew about this extra scrutiny of congressional groups since 2011. which means also during the election and that this was with held until after the election. should the white house have been informed earlier? >> my understanding is that when there is a review as there was and is by an inspector general, that when the end that have process is nearing and a report is about to be released, a notification is appropriate and routine and that is what happened and that happened several weeks ago. prior to that there was no knowledge here at the white
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house. now, before i make judgments about or anyone else here makes judgments about whether, you know, the white house should have known more or others in the administration should have known more, we have to find out what exactly happened and that's why it's important for us to wait for the release of the inspector general's report which hopefully nent.be fairly imnement >> based on the reporting do you have any concerns that this was with held when it could have been a big story? >> we have serious concerns about what's been reported. i think you saw that reflected in what the president said. and again it's been reported and we have to make sure that the independent review of this by an inspector general is revealed and with can assess that and assess what happened and what motivations there were behind whatever actions were taken and then decide what action is appropriate and who should take it. >> when did the president find out about the department of justice's subpoena for the associated press? >> yesterday.
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>> and -- >> let me just be clear, we don't very have any independent knowledge about. that he found out about the news reports yesterday on the road. >> what was his reaction to that? he believes this was an overreach? >> all i can tell you is that i cannot and he cannot comment specifically on an ongoing criminal investigation or actions that investigators at the department of justice may or may not have taken. it would be wholly inappropriate. and if we did comment on it or if we did have insight into it, you would appropriately ask why and is that correct procedure because it would not be. so i can't comment on the specifics of that but i can tell you that the president feels strongly that we need the press to be able to be unfettered in its pursuit of investigative journalism and you saw what -- when he was a senator the president co-sponsor legislation that would have provided further protections for journalists in
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this regard and he is also mindful of the need for secret and classified information to remain secret and classified in order to protect our national security interests. so there are -- there's a careful balance here that must be attained. but i think it's important to look at the president's past here and understand where he comes from, broadly speaking where he comes from in regard to issues like this but we simply can't comment on the specific investigation. >> president obama's being compared to president nixon on this. how does he feel about that? >> again, i don't have a reaction from president obama. i can tell you that the people who make those kind of comparisons need to check their history. because what we have here is one issue, in benghazi, is clearly a political side show, a deliberate effort to politicize a tragedy. the president feels very strongly about. that you heard him address that yesterday. on these other issues, these are things that we are finding out
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about and we need to wait appropriately for independent action to be completed before he can in any way take action or omment specifically on it. it is a reflection of the sort of rapid politicalization of everything, that you have that ind of commentary. >> everything becomes a huge political issue. when if you look at the facts and i think benghazi is instructive in this, the real issue is that four americans died and we need to do everything we can as the president has committed himself to doing to finding out who did it, finding out why and to taking the steps facilities are protected so that what happened in benghazi doesn't happen again. instead of trying to score political points which republicans have been doing
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since the hours after the attack and it's very unfortunate and it's not what the american people expect us to do because, going back to jim's original question, the president is here to try to achieve the things that he told the american people he would try to achieve. and that they supported him in two elections now in trying to achieve. and that is to focus on the middle class, to help in any way he can to strengthen the middle class, to help the country build the economic foundation that's essential for the kind of dominance economically in the 21st century that this country enjoyed in the 20th. and that is -- that is what he spends his time focusing on. that and the paramount interests of protecting the national security of the united states. >> you say check our history. rapid commentary. but you have to understand and hear how it sounds like the administration might be hiding
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something. can we take this one at a time? on t.r.s. friday, they gave one version of the story that changed several times since then. can you just say plainly, does the president believe they're being truthful and does he think that the leadership there needs to change? >> well, i don't have that -- i don't understand how that tracks with your first sentence about -- [inaudible] we have seen the reports, as the president said. and if the reports are true, he would consider them outrageous. >> the i.r.s. has acknowledged that some of this wrong doing happened to the president and this administration -- >> i think you heard the president say yesterday that if it turns out to be the case, and again, there's a lot of reporting, not all of it complimentary, some of it contradictory. >> -- i.r.s. personnel which sounds like it's isolated. we now have learned -- >> how could i.r.s. be isolated? that could be the entire agency. [inaudible] >> is he concerned that this is a broader problem?
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>> he's concerned by the report he sees on this. you can believe that he's concerned by. that and that is why he looks forward to finding out what the .g. report says. instead of rushing to conclusions and perpetrating consequences before we even know specifically what happened and the whole story, would be in appropriate for a president to do. and so again, he made clear what his view of this action, if there was specific deliberate targeting of conservative groups or any groups inappropriately, he would be outraged. and he finds the suggestions of that to be outrageous. but we cannot and we should not prejudge the outcome of the investigation -- >> what is the consequence of his outrage? >> we'll see. how could he possibly say what the consequence will be before we know what the facts are?
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shouldn't we let the facts be revealed by this independent inspector general report? before we make some conclusive judgments about what actions need to be taken? >> on the i.r.s.-d.o.j. story, we understand that you guys can't get involved in a leaked investigation that could touch the white house and the administration. and that it's a legal violation and it's a legal issue that happened. but this involved multiple months, multiple locations, many phones. is the president at all concerned that -- about the threat of the investigation, about the breadth and depth that the d.o.j. is using to investigate leengs in general which has become a priority for this president. he's prosecuted in this administration more people for leaks than every other president put together. >> what i can tell you is that this president believes strongly in the first amendment and is a strong defender of the first amendment. he believes strongly in the need for the press to be unfettered
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in its pursuit of investigative journalism. he also believes strongly as a citizen and as president in the need to ensure the classified information is not leaked. because it can endanger our national security interests. it can endanger american men and women around the world. but i cannot and he cannot appropriately comment on the specifics of an ongoing criminal investigation for the reasons that yourself just raised. >> it's not about the specifics of this investigation. >> you listed the specifics of the investigation. >> is he concerned at all about the precedent that this is setting and that this is the legacy of his attorney general? >> this refers to this investigation so i cannot comment on that. what i can tell you is that the president absolutely believes in the need for a -- the press to be able to pursue unfettered investigative journalism and you saw that in -- prior to his arrival in this office when he was a senator and co-sponsored
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legislation that would enhance protections for the media. and the principles that are behind that effort are ones that he holds to this day. i can't then take that to a specific case that's been reported in the press, again that we learned about from the press, appropriately. because if we learned about it any other way it would be inappropriate. >> can you comment on it after case? ok, ok. >> thank you. patience. >> can you say categorically that nobody at the white house and nobody on the president's political team had any knowledge or was involved in any way in the targeting of tea party groups by the snirs >> yes. >> absolutely not? >> we found out about this -- at least the council's office was notified about this investigation this activity, potential activity, very broadly just a few weeks ago. and beyond that, you know, we have to -- we learn about everything we know about this
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from what we see in your reports. so that's why we have to wait for the inspector general's report. before we can assess -- based on that and what it tells us about what we know and what happened and what didn't and what actions should be taken and then decide on what next steps to be taken. >> are people going to be fired for this? >> we'll have to see what the report concludes and what else need to be done to find out if necessary what happened. the reports that we've seen are very troubling and if true, and depending on the reports because there's been a series of different ones but if it is true that there was a knowing effort to target specific organizations as reported conservative organizations, that would be outrageous in the president's view and there should be consequences. >> and while you clearly can't comment on the justice
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department investigation, as a principle, does the president approve of the idea of prosecutors going through the personal phone records and work phone records of journalists and their editors? >> i appreciate the effort to generalize the question but obviously that goes right to the heart of some of the reporting on the specific case. i can tell you that the president believes that the press as a rule needs to be -- to have an unfettered ability to pursue investigative journalively -- journalism. >> how can it be unfettered if you have to worry about your phone record dshes >> i can't respond to this in the specific. i am very understanding of the questions on this issue. and appreciate the nature of the questions and i think they go to important issues and they go to the fundamental issue of finding the balance between when it comes to leaks of classified information, of our nation's secrets, if you will, between
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the need to protect those -- that information because of the national security implications of not protecting them on the one hand and the need to allow for an unfettered press and -- in its pursuit of investigative journalism. this is a balance the president believes is important that we have to find and how he views these issues can be seen in the actions and proposals he's made in the past. but when it comes to this specific case, i simply cannot get into the details of our view or his view of it. >> just a last question. is all of this, all this swirl of controversy stories affecting the president's ability to pursue his agenda? >> the president is focused on what he believes the american people expect from him and from their leaders in washington. and you have seen that and you will continue to see that in the
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days and weeks and months ahead. overwhelmingly americans are concerned about continuing the recovery out of the worst recession since the great depression. building on the job creation that we've seen, continuing to expand and make more secure the middle class, taking the necessary steps to invest in our future so that our economy can grow later and that means bipartisan cooperation on things like investor in infrastructure or in innovation, in the kind of investment in the innovation hubs that the president talked about in austin last week. these are the issues that he's focused on. they include exre hencive immigration reform -- comprehensive immigration reform which he is constantly discussion scusting with leaders and members of congress -- discussing with leaders and members of congress, a bipartisan effort that he believes can and should produce a law that he can sign that reflects the principles that
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he's laid out a long time ago. so there's a lot of work to be done and he's focused on that work. >> as you know, numerous members of congress over a period of a couple of years wrote the i.r.s. and asked if conservative groups were being targeted. those officials did not respond. it turns out that those officials did know at the time that the conservative groups were being or had been targeted, should those officials be punished? >> that goes into -- i mean, the if phrasing is appropriate. if what we're seeing in some of these reports about specific targeting and actions taken by personnel within the i.r.s. urns out to be true, then, you know, people should be held accountable and what that means in concrete action we'll have to see based on the information and the facts that are gathered,
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principally at least at first by the inspector general. so, you heard from the president yesterday, you heard the outrage that he conveyed at the reports of this kind of activity -- >> outrage or potential outrage? >> i don't think you would want a president to be outraged on something that turned out not to be true. we have to -- >> he apologized for part of it. doesn't he know that part of it is fact? >> i agree with that. and i think that that was reflected in the tone and the nature of the comments we saw from the president. but on the broader issue here about getting all the facts, it really is important in our view and the president's view that we let the independent inspector general complete that report, that we assess it when we see it, because we haven't seen it. there have been suggestions in the reports that some of it has leaked out but we haven't seen
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it. we don't have access to it and when we do we'll be able to assess it a lot more specifically than we can now. >> and one other question, following up onim's question about what he called the confluence of issues. you have ben gazzy, i.r.s., h.h.s., d.o.j. if you read some of the articles on it this it almost sounds like there's a siege going on. is there a siege mentality going on in the west wing right now? >> absolutely not. we are focused on the things that we can do to help the middle class, the things that we can do to move our economy forward, to help our kids get educated, to work with congress to achieve what will hopefully be a bipartisan comprehensive immigration bill that this president can sign into law. to see if question find common ground in reducing our deficit in a balanced way that will help the economy grow, help us create more jobs. we are focused on these fundamental issues that the
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american people sent this president to this office twice now to focus on. i understand the natural inclination to bhuverage these things together but there really is a distinction here and you heard it from the president that the ongoing obsession, and i'm quoting now somebody describing the speaker of the house, the ongoing obsession with talking points and benghazi and the attempt to politicize that constitutes a side show that's driven purely by or largely by political interests and not the interests of finding out exactly what happened in anderson who was responsible and taking the steps -- happened and who is responsible and taking the steps at we need to take. that's what the president's been focused on. that's what we've seen in the report from the a.r.b., the
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accountability review board, that was overseen by admiral mullen and ambassador pickering and it's what you've seen in the president's instistence that the investigation led by the f.b.i. into finding out who was responsible for the deaths of four americans reach a point where we can bring those responsible to justice. >> on the a.p. phone records, what prevents the president picking up a phone, calling someone and asking what happened? >> ea great deal prevents the president from doing that. it would be wholly inappropriate for the president to involve himself in a criminal investigation that as jessica points out at least as reported involves leaks of information from the administration. i mean, imagine the story on fox if that were to happen. so, that's why. we have seen from the press
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reports the information about attempts to seek phone records from the associated press and we're not involved in those decisions. and we can't comment on an ongoing criminal investigation. for reasons that i think, i know maybe the question was rhetorical, but i think are pretty apparent to everyone who's covered these things over the years. >> is it your understanding that no one could have ordered this but the attorney general? >> it's my understanding that this is something that the department of justice does and that the investigators in the department of justice handle. there is i believe when it comes to these kinds of things a decision making process but i would refer to you the department of justice for who actually made the decision that's been reported. because again, our information comes only from press reports on this. >> if it turns out to be the attorney general or whoever, will the president have
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confidence in that person? >> the president has confidence in the attorney general. he has confidence in his team over at the department of justice. i think that -- again, i'm not going to comment on spisks of an investigation here -- specifics of an investigation here. i think it's important to note that there is a balance here that has to be struck between our national security interests and the need to prevent classified information from leaking, classified information that can endanger americans and harm our national security. and the president's firm commitment to the need for reporters to be able to in an unfettered way pursue investigative journalism. >> do you believe it's possible to strike that balance and at the same time subpoena the phone records -- >> i just can't comment on the specific reports that you cite. i can say that the president does believe that that balance should be sought and can be found. but it is a balance and therefore something that we need to constantly work at and you've seen from the past, from the
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measures that the president supported as a senator, that he believed actions should be taken to alter the balance. but i cannot comment on this specific investigation for all the obvious reasons. >> but we know it happened just as the i.r.s. admitted what it had done in terms of the tea party and other groups. the a.p. knows its records were subpoenaed because the justice department told the a.p. the president -- does he find any way that that might fit into the balance? >> it would be inappropriate to comment on the specific investigation and the methods that have been reported. i can tell that you it's important to protect our national security, classified information. it is also, in the president's view, essential to allow journalists to be able to pursue in an unfettered way investigative journalism. >> you keep talking about that then senator obama supported a
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piece of legislation, that's fact. as president he killed that piece of legislation in october of 2009. that made it so that the protections that he supported, having judicial review on -- and then there was an opportunity for this bill to be passed, chuck schumer was supportive of it and he said it was the white house that had problems with it and he killed it. >> i think first of all you're talking about separate pieces of legislation and a legislative history that bears a little more looking into. the president's position on this is what it was as a senator. but the fact is i cannot then appropriately apply his support for that measure. >> if he supported this piece of legislation we wouldn't be having this conversation today because he supported a judicial review. >> and what happened in 2007? >> i'm asking what you happened to it in 2009 when he was president of the united states? >> the legislative history here is more complicated than you present. >> democrats were in charge. this is 2009.
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who cares about 2007, we know what he said on the campaign trail in 2008 in front of the associated press when it came to this issue. he had a chance to support this and make this bill happen. why did he change? the administration said the president changed his position because of certain things on national security. can you explain why? >> broadly speaking the president does support the ability of journalists in an unfettered way to pursue investigative journalism. he believes that we have to find a balance between that goal and -- >> he believed in 2008, he doesn't believe in once he was president? >> i think that he has addressed this some and i think that you are obviously free to ask him the next time he has a press conference, to ask him about this. t the fact is, as president, as president he obviously has responsibilities as commander in chief to ensure the classified information that the nation's secrets, that is highly
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sensitive information, is not leaked because the leaking that have information can endanger individuals as well as our overall national security interests. >> do you believe a third party should make that decision? that's fine, as a candidate he believed, he said that the point of the press is sometimes to be a watchdog of the watchdogs a little bit. and that the judiciary branch is probably the appropriate place for them to make that determination. but you guys claim classified, any administration claims everything is somehow national security leak can fall under the rubics of that. but having a third party make that decision about is it truly going to endanger lives, is it truly going to do this and you make your case with a third party, the president put forth that kind of -- protection for media sources? >> i don't have an answer to that specific scenario that you laid out. i can tell you that the president does support -- >> he supported it in 2008. >> he does support protections
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for the media. he believes we need to take measures to ensure that the media can pursue investigative journalism in an unfettered way and we have to balance that goal with the very real national security interests that we have as a nation. and understandably there is great concern when classified information is leaked that can jeopardize our national security interests or endanger individuals. >> i want to follow up on that. i still don't quite understand the time line. we had members of congress complaining about this for two years. did it just never reach you guys here at the white house? that there were these complaints that conservative groups felt that they were being singled out and targeted? at any point in time? >> i'm not -- i'm sure people were aware of and knew some of the stories but -- that had been reported about the complaints but we were not aware of any activity or of any review conducted by the inspector general until several weeks ago. >> should you have been made
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aware sooner? >> i was asked that before -- >> i don't understand -- that -- just say >> why wouldn't you want to know that? >> first of all, we -- for all the reasons why there should be distance between -- why the i.r.s. should not be politicized , you know, there has to be that distance. but on the specific question that you have, i want to wait and see what the report says and wait and see what we actually know happened and what the facts are before we comment beyond what the president said yesterday on this matter and before we make any decisions or pronouncements about what actions should be taken. you heard what the president said about what he believes and what he feels -- what's reported about specific targeting turn out to be true. but we need to wait and see if that's the case and what the scope of it is before we make decisions about how to proceed. >> do you have any update, i
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know that -- [inaudible] he's been waiting for an explanation on the hamid karzai claiming cash payments from the c.i.a. and these cash payments have been continuing and he's been claiming it in afghanistan and senator corker was hoping to for an explanation from the president and he said it's now been two letters and he hasn't gotten any explanation for it. >> i'm not aware of the letters. i'll have to take the question. the specific story itself involves the c.i.a. and i'd have to refer you to them. with regard to the letters, i'll let you know if there's a response. >> you've used this formulation about the president wanting unfettered investigative reporting a number of times here. to what the former constitutional law professor in the oval office torn between that philosophy and the case for
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going after leaks? >> i think the appropriate way to describe it is that the president believes there needs to be a balance. ecause there is an interest in making sure that classified information that is sensitive is not leaked and because of the consequences to national security and to individuals, but there is also an interest in the president's view in ensuring that the press can pursue investigative journalism and be unfettered in that pursuit. to the earlier point that chuck was making, even after he became president the attorney general and director of national intelligence, after the president took office, his attorney general and his director of national intelligence sent a letter to congress in november of 2009 expressing the administration's support for media shield legislation. so the position that the president held as a senator he continues to hold as president. but that balance is important.
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nd without commenting on specific reports about a specific case, you know, we have to be mindful of the fact that national security interests are significant and classified information needs to be protected. >> he has to know that a reporter can't be unfettered if a reporter is subjected to a fishing expedition of personal phone records and office phone records. >> broadly speaking i think that the president understands that a reporter needs to be shielded in the way that he supported as a senator and has supported as a president. i cannot, because of the nature of your question, express an opinion about reported developments in a criminal investigation currently under way at the department of justice. >> you just said categorically. you said no one from the white house or on the president's political team was involved.
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that was a pretty unequivocal answer on your part. but you said you don't have all the facts. it's a wait and seay approach. >> what i can tell you -- >> what gives you that confidence? >> i can tell you that, as i think i said yesterday, the white house counsel was alerted about this i.g. review and the general topic of it just a few weeks ago. >> -- how categorically certain that no one from the white house team or political team -- >> i have no reason to believe -- >> so you're doing it on good faith? this is just your assumption? >> i can tell you that i am not aware of anyone here knowing about it. it would be obviously -- >> not to your direct knowledge of being aware of anyone here? >> you can ask me if somebody who -- >> you've asserted something categorically. how do you know that? >> i am certainly not aware of and am confident that no one
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here was involved in this. we found out about it just a few weeks ago and when i say we, i didn't, the president didn't, but the white house council's office only found out about the review being conducted and coming to the conclusion by the inspector general. i feel confident in that but i don't have -- >> do you have any facts? >> you're asking know prove a negative. >> you made the assertion. you've asserted that you're confident that -- you're the one that put it up there. >> again, you heard the president express his views. and we're going to wait and see what the facts are based on the independent inspector general review. and then we will make judgments about those facts and what next steps might be taken and by whom and with what actions might be taken. i'm not going to get into any more details about it. it would be inappropriate to do so. >> i want to follow up on a question jessica asked that has nothing to do with the specific investigation. this administration in the last
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four years has prosecuted twice as many leakers as every previous administration combined. how does that reflect balance? >> i would say that the president is committed to the press' ability to pursue , to defending the first amendment. he's also, as a citizen and as commander in chief, committed to e proposition that we cannot allow classified information to be -- that can do harm to our national security interests or to endanger individual to be leaked. that is a balance that has to be struck. >> but the record of the last four years does not suggest balance. >> that's your opinion. >> it's twice as many prosecutions as lrevious administrations combined. that's not even close. >> i understand that there are ongoing investigations that preceded this administration but againky tell whaut president's views are -- again i can tell you what the president's views
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are and his belief that journalists ought to be able to pursue information in an unfettered way and that is backed up by his support for a media shield law, both as senator and as president and it is also true that he believes a balance need to be struck between those goals and the need to protect classified information. you're not going to hear him say that it's ok for the nation's secrets to be freely reported when that information can endanger our national security and do harm to individuals. and endanger individuals. >> do you think a fair analysis of this administration's actions reflect the views you just described? >> i believe that the president supports balance and that he has made that clear. both as president and within his administration. i cannot comment on the specific case. but i can tell you what the president believes and what his actions have been in the past. [inaudible]
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>> the president has made a goal of balance clear within his administration, can you describe how he's communicated that within the administration or within the justice department? >> the president, i think i just cited a november, 2009, letter to congress from the attorney general. and the director of national intelligence. expressing the administration's support, the obama administration's support for media shield legislation. so that is a clear expression from several components of the administration about the president's views. i can tell you that as somebody who's spent a lot of time with him and speaks about the press frequently that he firmly believes in the need to defend the first amendment and the need for reporters to be able to do their jobs. he is also as commander in chief and as a citizen interested in the protection of sensitive information that can, if released, endanger our national security or endanger individuals. and i think that is a balance that every american would expect
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a president to seek both in his views and in his actions. >> he's talked about that with you privately or -- >> i'm just saying i know because i've spent time with him. his general views about this matter. >> a couple of questions. did you know that the attorney general has recused himself of this investigation? did you know that? >> i did learn that before i came out. it was reported right before i came out. >> you said earlier that it would be inappropriate for the president to talk -- >> a general matter for the president to pick up the phone and call the attorney general, i think it's safe to say that would be inappropriate. and i think everybody in this room would consider it inappropriate. >> well, let me ask you two more questions. is there an expectation around here at the white house that this leak investigation could expand to outlets beyond the associated press? >> this is not something we would have any knowledge about and i would have to refer you to the department of justice. >> and one more question. at any time during this
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administration do you have any knowledge of any wiretaps or any tapping of workspaces? this is a serious question. >> no. again, i don't and any suggestion that somebody here would goes to the heart what have i'm saying. these are questions for the department of justice and i would refer to you what's been reported. first of all, connie, happy birgets day. >> thank you so much -- birthday. >> thank you so much. is there a possibility that any of the private obama administration people support -- could have instigated these leaks, not the i.r.s. or anybody? >> instigated the leaks? i have no idea. i think that the reporting, the people, the sources are cited- hypotheticals about things that i wouldn't be able to answer. >> one more question. the president is human. when he first found out about these stories, did he curse, did he scream, what was his
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reaction? >> i'm not going to tell but a private conversation but i can tell that you he found out about t yesterday. >> you were saying that the president doesn't get involved in an ongoing criminal investigation. just to clarify, which one are e talking about? trayvon martin -- >> it's a federal investigation that has been reported, again, based on news reports and we do have any riately so insight into that investigation or communications about that investigation. so we have no knowledge of -- independently of any attempt by the justice department to subpoena phone records of the associated press beyond the press reports that we'veun >> secd eson, on what chuck and hans were asking you, it was reported in news organizations for several years the complaints from the
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organizations that felt they were being targeted by the i.r.s. we have very prominent lawmakers on the republican side of the aisle who actually gave speeches about it and talked about it long before you would have known about the a.p. report. so i just wanted to make sure, are we going to find out, because of the president's animosity or his feelings or shortcomings about citizens united, that he himself appreciated or wanted the i.r.s. to be looking -- >> that's a preposterous assertion and the fact of the matter is you heard from the president that if this turns out to be true, he would be outraged and he specifically said if there were specific targeting of conservative group, that would be wrong. and outrageous. and there should be people held accountable for it. it's not who we are, it's not the way the i.r.s. should ever operate. if it turns out to be true. >> quick question. on benghazi.
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[inaudible] part of an email trail that was sent to the congress, and -- [inaudible] my question is, because we're eight months into it, you call it a political circus, as part that have email that's come out, will the white house -- >> i think the entire email conscious i show the entire email and what it showed is that republicans who are leaking these press -- these emails that had been shared with congress didn't just do that, they decided to fabricate portions of an email and make up portions of an email in order to fit a political narrative and i think -- i'm not surprised by it. because we've seen it again and again. we've seen it in -- remember the issue in the committee's report, the republican committee report, about secretary clinton's signature and the fact that they of course didn't include the truth behind that, this was an automated signature and she had no involvement in that email. so, you know, i think it just reinforces what we've seen which is an ongoing effort to politicize this, to take the
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cherre picked information or make it up noffered to fit a political narrative. >> my question to you is, after eight months of what you call a political circus, why not just put out the email now? do >> a couple of things. not in your question is the fact that we provided these emails to congress, torrell advantage committee, as -- torrell advantage committees, as well as -- to relevant committees. some said they were satisfied with the information. they felt they knew what they needed to know. this was about the confirmation of john brennan as the new head of the c.i.a., they moved forward with that nomination and confirmed john brennan in that position. the speaker of the house is reported to be obsessed with benghazi and the political benefits of this pursuit. i'm just doing a prelude to the answer, preface to the answer, so the speaker of the house is obsessed with this, has made all sorts of demands and it turns
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out that his office was a provider of the information but as obsessed as he was he didn't show up to get the briefing and spend the time with the emails but a staffer did so he's known all along what these emails contained and what they don't contain. so i think the evidence is pretty overwhelming that -- the answer -- this is -- as it has been consistently the case with administrations of both parties, the internal deliberations of -- shake your head and editorialize -- >> covering on other administrations when it didn't work and the information comes out. >> the information comes out but not -- if people leak information as they have on the hill for political purposes, that's one thing. as a matter of course, releasing internal deliberations is something that goes to the kind of protections that have existed for the executive branch for many administrations of both parties. and the fact is, and i think again in the full reporting of this story, we did something rather extraordinary which is
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provide these emails to the committees, the relevant committees, in camera, fancy league term for meaning they could spend all the time they wanted with them, make notes, copy them verbatim or not so verbatim as it turns out, and then go on their way and make their assessments by is -- which is what we did. >> has the president spoken to the pakistan incoming prime minister? >> he has. today the president spoke by phone with president of pakistan muslim league to congratulate him on his party's success in the may 11 parliamentary elections. as you know, over the weekend the president also commended the people of pakistan on the successful completion of their parliamentary elections. the united states stands with all pakistanis in welcoming this historic, peaceful and transparent transfer of civilian power which is a significant milestone in pakistan's
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democratic progress. it really is important to note the significance of consecutive democratic elections and the transfer of civilian power from one government to the next. the united states and pakistan have a long history of working together on mutual interests and this administration looks forward to continuing our cooperation with the pakistani government that emerges from this election as equal partners in supporting a more stable, secure and prosperous future for the people of pakistan. >> in an interview, the prime minister spoke about -- [inaudible] did that issue come up? >> i think the content of this conversation were reflected in what i just said. >> does the white house, amid all those nice words about the pakistan election, have a position on the fact that "the new york times" euro chief was asked to leave the country with 72 hours' notice literally on the day of that election? >> i don't have a specific
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reaction to that from the white house. we obviously have a broad interest not just in the matters that we've been discussing here today but in general, including in international reporting in governments around the country permitting journalists, american and otherwise, to operate freely. and i don't have the specifics on this case, at least in an official capacity. i certainly have followed it and read about it. but it's a general principle that we believe reporters ought to be able to work and to work safely around the world. >> i can follow on benghazi? does the white house, understand that goes back to the talking points, does the white house believe that the state department has valid equities that needed to be protected in the trafficking of those talking points? -- drafting of those talking points? >> i would refer you -- i would point you to the cnn story about a particular email that was misrepresented in the reporting
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out it originally where no discussion of the state department specifically, but in general the process we've described where agencies with a stake in an issue like what happened in benghazi obviously, you know, are part of it and present their views. in this case, the c.i.a. had the lead when it came to drafting the talking points. much unreported is that many of the iterations of these talking points or the suggestions of what should be included contain changes within the c.i.a. which i believe people have recognized. but in the end what was produced by the c.i.a. was a distillation of the view of the agencies involved, but most importantly reflective of what the c.i.a. felt at the top was a fair representation for public use of what they knew at the time. and as we know, and as was made clear in the talking points themselves, because they were
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caveated to explain that more information would become vainl, that our picture would -- available, that our picture would change. some of what was originally put forward as what we believed to have happened in benghazi turned out not to be true. which we angelina acknowledged and talked about -- which we acknowledged and talked about when that became evident. the president talked about just that just a few days after ambassador rice was on the sunday shows. >> the key misrepresentation of that email was the fact that the email as reported had the state department singled out and it appears the valid email did not have the state department singled out. so i guess my question is, the state department raised a series of concerns. are we to believe that those concerns were not upper most among the white house? >> i think you should believe that, as i understand it, there was an effort here, a focus here, and elsewhere, on making sure that what we said as the
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administration, and what we provided to congress, was as accurate as it could be and did not -- you know, there was a lot of misinformation, as is always the case in an incident like this, in the in addition hours and days afterwards, and a lot of assessments about what might have happened, but contradictory information about what might have happened, the job of the intelligence community in this case to sorts of filter through that -- to sort of filter lew that and assess what its position -- filter through that and assess what its position is and what its points for public consumption can reflect. that's what happened. i don't think it's about one particular agency. i think it was about the community at large led by the in his case, the c.i.a. >> [inaudible] my first question , on the border town in syria, 50 people got killed and dozens
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injured. what's your reaction and reaction from the white house and is this going to change any -- ur approach to [inaudible]. and the second question -- >> the united states condemns the car bombings over the weekend. and we stand with turkey against such horrific violence. we extend our deepest condolences to the families of the victims and our thoughts are with those who are wounded. it's important to note always but particularly appropriate with the arrival of the prime minister that turkey is one of our strongest partners. we have worked shoulder to shoulder with the turks to counter terror threats and this attack will only strengthen our resolve to work together to protect our people and fight instability and violence in the region. this is something that i fully expect, this incident, will be a matter of discussion between the prime minister and the president.
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as friends and nato allies, the united states and turkey are partners in addressing a range of critical global and regional issues. they will clearly discuss syria, which is an interest that they share, yets they will also talk about stability in the middle east, trade and economic cooperation and countering global terrorism overall. the prime minister's visit underscores the close friendship between the u.s. and turkey and the strategic importance we place on broadening and deepening that relationship moving forward. last one. >> on the chemical weapon in syria, u.n. chemical weapons chief said that time is running out. he said this two days ago and he id that traces of the attack might be impossible to obtain very soon. naut your administration admitted -- [inaudible] your administration admitted that it was used. what's the latest update? is there any evidence you have?
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>> we are working with our allies as well as with the syrian opposition to gather evidence. we continue to call on president assad to allow the united nations to conduct an investigation into the use of chemical weapons, an investigation that president assad said he wanted. but has now blocked. but we're not relying on the u.n. alone. we are pursuing and gathering information independently of that and working with our allies and the syrian -- most importantly the syrian opposition. i don't -- i don't have the depth of information about the progress that's being made to assess whether or not the report you said about the evidence available, whether or not that's the case. i know that we have been, for in an e now, working effort to build on the intelligence community's assessment about the use of
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chemical weapons, to make sure that we have a case, if you will , a set of facts that can be be -- corroborated and reviewed and from which we can make assessments about possible policy actions. even as that takes place, as you have seen, at the direction of the president, we have stepped up our humanitarian assistance. we have stepped up our assistance to the syrian opposition. we have made assistance available directly to the military counsel of the opposition, nonlethal assistance, but we have stepped it up. and that process of constantly assessing the options that are available to us in this situation, assessing the ways that we can provide assistance to the opposition will continue. even as we gaggetser facts about -- gather facts about possible chemical weapons use. thanks very much. [captioning performed by national captioning institute]
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[captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2013] >> back on capitol hill, the u.s. house gavels in for legislative work at 5:00 p.m. eastern. three bills this afternoon including one dealing with a blue alert system that disseminating information about crimes against police officers. later this week a bill that would repeal the 2010 health care law and also on friday a bill requiring the securities and exchange commission to conduct a cost-benefit analysis before implementing new financial regulations. the house live at 5:00 p.m. eastern here on c-span. also today, the congressional budget office says the budget deficit for the current year will come in well below what was
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projected just a few months ago. c.b.o. studies saying that the 2013 budget deficit of $642 billion, that's more than $200 billion below its february estimate, the c.b.o. is saying that higher tax revenues and better than expected bailout repayments by fannie mae and freddie mac are the key reasons for the improved outlook. here's our outlook for primetime on the c-span networks. on c-span, after the house gavels out, reaction to the justice department's decision to investigate the alleged targeting of political groups by the i.r.s. on c-span2, a hearing on a proposed bill that would require cable companies to provide certain subscriptions so people pay for channels they actually watch. and on c-span3, the national transportation board recommending that u.s. states reduce the threshold for drunk diving -- driving from .08 blood alcohol content to .05. all of those events tonight on the c-span networks. next up, attorney general eric holder answers questions in a briefing on the justice
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department's decision to investigate the alleged targeting of political groups by the i.r.s. he is joined by health and human services secretary kathleensy billous as the two -- kathleen sebelius. criminal charges made against 89 defendants for medicare fraud. this is 35 minutes. >> good afternoon. thank you all for being here. today i'm joined by secretary kathleen sebelius of the department of health and human services. the acting assistant attorney general for the criminal division, the assistant director for the f.b.i., inspector general of the h.h.s. office of the inspector general, and the deputy administrator for program integrity for the centers for medicare and medicaid services. in announcing the latest steps forward in the federal government's ongoing efforts to combat fraud and abuse in our health care systems. as part of the coordinated nationwide takedown, this is the
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sixth that the medicare fraud strike force and its partners have conducted, this afternoon we announced charges against 89 defendants in eight different cities for their alleged participation in fraud schemes to submit more than $223 million in false billings to medicare. these defendants are accused of a variety of crimes involving the fraudulent use of medicare information obtained illegally from elderly, for low-income individuals. the submission of false billings for treatments that were never performed or were performed by unlicensed individuals, and arrange of other schemes that placed the safety of innocent people at risk in order to achieve illicit financial gain. the departments of justice and health and human services, working alongside federal, state and local partners, will simply not tolerate such activities. we will use every appropriate tool and available resource to find, to stop and to punish those who seek to take advantage
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of their fellow citizens. and our commitment to protecting the american people from all forms of health care fraud, safeguarding taxpayer resources and ensuring the integrity of essential health care programs such as medicare and medicaid has never been stronger. four years ago this month, this commitment drove us to launch a new joint initiative that's known as the health care fraud prevention and enforcement action team, also known as heat. result of this ground breaking initiative, we have leverage the strength of key federal, state and local partnerships in order to take our comprehensive fight against health care fraud to a new level. through the enhanced efforts of our criminal medicare fraud strike force, we bolsted our ability to shut down and identify fraud screams across the country and this work has yielded fully extraordinary results. as a result of strike force operations conducted since 2007, we filed charges against more than 1,500 individuals in
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connection with schemes involving over $5 billion in false billings. over the last three fiscal years, for every $1 that we've spent fighting against health care fraud, we've returned on average $8 to the united states treasury, the medicare trust fund and others. and our actions have helped to deter other would-be criminals attempting to defraud medicare. for example, after the strike force targeted group psycho therapy fraud in detroit, we have seen amounts billed to medicare for this treatment drop by more than 70% since january of 2011. just two years after strike force operations in miami identified and targeted widespread fraud in the home health industry and launched an nimbtive -- initiative that led to numerous arrests and sentenc billings for home health services in the state of florida dropped by more than $1 billion and payments to providers fell by roughly $500 million.
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we can all be proud of this really remarkable progress. we should be encouraged by the significant actions that we are announcing today but we cannot yet be satisfied. unfortunately, our ability to keep building on this work -- on this work and ostrengthen strike force organizations is being negatively impacted by sequestration, which earlier this year cut $1.6 billion from the justice department's budget for fiscal year 2013. unless congress adopts a balanced deficit reduction plan and stops the reductions currently slated for 2013, i feel our capacity to protect the american people from health care fraud and safeguard vital programs and precious resources and to hold criminals accountable will be further reduced. now, allowing these cuts would be both unwise and unacceptable. despite recent achievements, our
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work is far from over. significant challenges lie ahead. that's why we must remain steadfast in our determination to strengthen current efforts and keep fighting to make the positive differences that our citizens need and that they deserve. i'd like to thank each of the approximately 400 law enforcement officials who made arrests who executed search warrants and otherwise participated in the investigative enforcement actions that made today's announcement possible. at this time, i'd loo to turn things over to my good friend, kathleen sebelius, direct of -- director of h.l.s. -- h.h.s. >> thank you, attorney general older. we have an amazing teem from the department of justice, from the f.b.i., and others in this recent takedown.
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this latest takedown is the latest sign we're beginning to turn the tide on medicare fraud. with greater collaboration and a stronger commitment than ever before uh. you just heard the attorney general describe how the law enforcement measures have increased anti-fraud prosecutions and led to record recoveries. we've done that by coordinating across agencies. we pulled resources and shared tools at our disposal this takedown clearly shows that the affordable care act is one of the best tools we have to preserve medicare and to protect the tens of millions of americans who rely on it every day. one of the most important ways the law made a difference in these cases is by expanding our authority to suspend medicare payments and reimbursements when fraud is suspected. to better preserve the system and save taxpayer dollars. because of the affordable care act, we now can suspend medicare payments and reimbursements when
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there are credible allegations of fraud. it's that broader authority that helps us aggress ily suspend payments an get results faster than in the past. and the power to suspend payments is just one of many commonsense measures in the affordable care act that make it harder for criminals to submit fraudulent medical claims and get paid in the first place. we are able to stop criminals earlier through license checks and unanoubsed site visits that screen providers who pose a high risk of fraud and abuse. the law increases penalties for medicare fraud. criminals face tougher sentences and longer jail time, for fraud and for obstructing a fraud investigation. and the law supports our other tools that use advanced technology like predictive and data analytics to better identify where medicare fraud and abuse is happening the most. it's clear that the affordable care act safeguards medicare as the sacred trust and guarantee
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that it is to our seniors who have spent a lifetime paying intite. while we know the range of ways criminals seek to violate that trust and shatter that guarantee, the takedown shows the range of ways we're willing to fight back. and beginning to beat them. today's announcement is just another great result of the partnership that's protecting the health of our seniors and famlains the pocketbooks of american taxpayers. and we're sending a strong, clear message across the country to anyone seeking to defraud medicare. you will get caught and you will pay the price. we'll protect the sacred trust and earned guarantee. now i want to stop there and turn the microphone over to acting assistant attorney general of the criminal division, michael lee raman who will provide more details on the akedown.
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> thank you, ms. sebelius. these defendants are charged with having submit over $223 million in fraudulent claims to the medicare program. as the attorney general said, fraud takedownth since 2010. as a result of these takedowns -- 600 harged 6,000 defendants. today's defendants include as charged both the owners and operators of companies that participated in these schemes and the physicians and numerous other professionals who helped them steal precious medicare dollars. in many scheme the fraudulent billings couldn't have occurred without the doctor signing off on the services or a nurse or therapist filling out false paperwork. in fact, nearly 1/4 of the
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defendants charged as part of today's takedowns are doctors, nurses, physicians, physical therapists and other medical professionals. and disturbingly, today's actions also include charges against three individuals in detroit who, although they were not licensed physicians nevertheless allegedly held themselves out falsely as doctors. conducted examinations, wrote prescriptions for drugs including narcotic pain medications and signed off on documents used in a multimillion dollar psychotherapy fraud scheme. several of the defendants charged today are also allege to have had targeted the less fortunate in executing their fraud schemes. our baton rouge strike force working closey hi with the u.s. attorney's office in new orleans charged five individuals in connection with a $50 million home health scheme in which the owns of the home health companies allegedly paid patient recruiters to obtain information
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from low 46 income beneficiaries. in all of the charged fraud schemes, profit was the driving force. in one case charged today, the defendant allegedly used his spoils to purchase a lamborghini a ferrari, other luxury vehicles, in addition to a number of priorities -- of properties in the miami area. we have made it part of our core mission at the justice department to hold accountable those who steal medicare dollars to line their own pockets. there are medicare fraudsters in prisons across the country, some who will be there for decades, who can attest to tour determination and effectiveness. the criminal division intends to continue, together with our partners at the u.s. attorney's office, the f.b.i., h.h.s., and our state and local coubt parts. -- counterparts to fight medicare fraud across the country in the same smart and efficient way we have been doing for the last few years. i would like to turn it over to one of our closest partners, the
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assistant director of the f.b.i. >> as attorney general and secretary sebelius noted, the strike force is seeing significant success. our partnerships are bringing justice to those who are willing to defraud public and private health plans. we are seeing health care crime of all types, at all levels of providers. it involves traditional provider fraud such as durable medical equipment and numerous other providers who include home health care and mental health services. these crimes include individual providers as well as corporate level fraud schemes. since heat was created, we have increased the medicare fraud strike force cities to nine, including ba technology rouge, chicago, houston, dallas, detroit, los angeles, miami, and tampa. to give you an example of one
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case, the owner and operators of a number of home health agencies were using prescriptions for narcotics to get medicare information to defraud medicare. 23% of the people charged in this takedown are doctors and other medical professionals. those doctors were trusted by their patients, with their well being. instead, those doctors broke the law for their own benefit. we are committed to preventing and prosecuting health care fraud at all levels and against all types of providers. we cannot to this alone. as part of our message today, we need the public to take a few easy steps and help us stop fraud. first, everyone should report suspicious activity. as an example, marketers offering money or fwifts to patients for medical services are suspicious and that should be reported.
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secondly, patients should review the explanation of benefits forms sent by the insurance company. they shouldn't be ignored. if you see bills for services you didn't receive, you should immediately contact your insurance company. thirdly, you should protect your insurance cards and numbers the way you would protect other credit cards and identifying information. make sure there's a legitimate reason that you give that information to anyone. we all feel the effects of health care fraud. it nettably leads to higher health care costs and makes it harder for seniors and those who truly need this help to get the care they need. we can work together to ensure your hard-earned dollars are used to care for the sick and we can keep our nation's health care system strong for those who truly need it. new i would like to turn the microphone over to dan levinson the inspector general for the department of health and human ervices.
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>> thank you, ron. good afternoon. the scale of today's enforcement activities and the va tryity of schemes it disrupted illustrate the strength of our commitment to work together to bring to justice those who would defraud our health care programs. today's program included nine cities, from the filing of charges to the execution of search and arrest warrants and took down an array of health care fraud schemes, including familiar targets such as durable medical equipment, home health, community mental health, ambulance transportation and medicare prescription drugs. tackling fraud of this scale and range demands a genuine team approach and a full partnership along -- among law ens forment. that is exactly what we saw today. i extend my deepest thanks and congratulations to o.i.g.'s special agents and to our
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and othert the f.b.i. federal, state, and local law enforcement personnel that made the operation such a success. i would also like to express my special appreciation to the nine other inspectors general officers that -- offices that provided personnel assistance for today's operation through the mutual assistance program. finally, while i can't provide details about the open cases, i note that alert citizens played a critically important role in helping combat the medicare fraud that we took action against today. i am pleased that more and more americans are recognizing that that can make a difference. if you suspect medicare fraud please report what you see to 447-8477. ne, 800 of
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thank you for your partnership, let me turn the mike over now. >> thank you, general levinson. as we reported in the cases and charges filed today, intricate and ever-resolving fraudulent schemes and practices are taking place across the united states. these schemes can take any number of inappropriate behaviors, from ones involving fraudulent prescriptions to falsifying patient files. today's mix of charges include schemes that involve fraudulent billing for services never provided. today's takedown is the result of dedicated commitment to a close working relationship between the centers for medicare and medicaid services and the rest of the department of health and human services and our law enforce pt partners to root out fraud in the medicare program. this collaboration has been strengthened by the affordable care act which provided the centers for medicare and
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medicaid services with stronger tools that it needs to stop the flow of money while working to rid our programs of fraud, waste, and abuse. a key part of the new collaborative approach is the fraud prevention system whereby we use sophisticated, predictive analytic technologies to identify and prevent the payment of improper claims in the medicare fee for service system. as we identify allegations of fraud such as those identified today, they are investigated so that medicare can suspend payments to providers who may be involved in fraud. we have used this new authority ex-tensively and today we are announcing that we are suspended payments to 20 of the individuals in coordination with the arrests announced here. c.m.s. has also doubled the number of providers removed from the program after the implementation of the new affordable care act screening rules, stopping the flow of money once and for all.
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as the fraudulent activities and friends such as though identified today emerge, we work closely with law enforcement partners to incorporate that information along with other factors into our predictive models and other analytic methodologies. to provide the most sophisticated an accurate analysis possible. as we keep improving our systems, we are increasingly able to spot fraudulent practices early on and prevent them from taking hold. this is good news for everyone. thank you. >> we're going to take a few questions. secretary sebelius has to leave in a few minutes. >> general holder, on -- attorney general holder, on the subpoena of pharm records, did you sign -- of phone records, did you sign off, you did not because you were accused in this
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case, when did you recuse yourself and who did you appoint o do that? -- also, what about the >> i don't remember all the question, i'm sure it'll come back to me. i testified i guess back in june, 2012, that i'd been interviewed by the f.b.i. in connection with this matter. to avoid a potential con -- the appearance of a potential conflict of interest and make sure the investigation was seen as independent, i recused myself from this matter. we'll get to exactly when that happened, it was early in the investigation. this matter has thereafter been conducted by the u.s. attorney here in washington, d.c. under the supervision of the deputy attorney general. the deputy attorney general would have been the one who ultimately authorized the subpoena that went to the a.p. now, i'm not familiar with all
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that went into the formulation of the subpoena. i was recused from that matter, but i'm confident that the people who are involved in this information investigation, who i have known for a great many years and worked with for a great many years, followed all the appropriate justice department regulations and did things according to d.o.j. rules. so -- >> can you understand why people in the news gathering business such as us would find troubling? >> well, you know, as i said, i don't know all that went into the formulation of the subpoena. this was a very serious -- a very serious leak, a very, very serious leak. i've been a prosecutor since 1976. and i have to say that this is among the -- if not the most serious, it is within the top two or three most serious leaks that i have ever seen.
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it put the american people at risk. that is not hyperbole, to put the american people at risk. trying to determine who is responsible for that, i think, required very afwressive action. as i said, i'm sure that the subpoena as formulated, based on the people that i know, i don't know about the facts but basically people that know, i think that subpoena was done in conference with the regulars. >> the a.p. said it found out about this after the fact theambing records were taken. why was not attempt made to seek the a.p.'s voluntary cooperation? >> you're getting into matters beyond my knowledge. i was recused in the matter so i don't know. >> are you comfortable with that approach? ordinarily, wouldn't protocol require that you would try to approach them for voluntary cooperation? >> i don't know what the circumstances were here. so, you know, how things are done in a particular investigation have to be dick kated by the facts and i frankly don't have the knowledge of those facts. >> i think the real question
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here, the underlying question is, the policy of the administration when it comes to the ability of the media to cover the news. i think the question for you is, fwiven the fact that this news organization was not given an opportunity to try to quash this in court as has been precedent, it leaves us in the position of wondering whether the administration has somehow decided policy wise that it is going to go after us? >> that is certainly -- i can talk about policy and that is certainly not the policy of this administration. if you will remember in 2009 when i was going for my confirmation hearings, i testified in favor of the reporter shield law, we, as an administration, took a position in favor of such a law. didn't get the necessary support on the hill. it is something this administration still thinks would be appropriate. we investigated cases on the basis of the facts.
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not as a result of a policy to get the press or to anything of that nature. the fact theans law have dictated our actions in that regard. >> you said it's not high per bo -- hyperbole that it puts american lives at risk. if the investigation was being run with the knowledge and the hand of the u.s. government, why isn't there any risk to americans when that information came out? >> i can't answer that question. >> the beginning of the investigation, we can get the exact date, i don't know when that was. but as i said, it was because i was one of the people who had knowledge of this matter, i have frequent contact with the media and want to make sure that this investigation was seen as one that was independent, to avoid even the possibility of the appearance of a conflict. i made the dormingse recuse
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yself. >> our controversy, are there concerns on the i.r.s. controversy is there concern that any laws have been broken? >> i have ordered an investigation to be begun. the f.b.i. is coordinating with the justice department to see if any laws were broken in connection with those matters related to the i.r.s. those were, i think, asern can agree, if not criminal, they were outrageous and unacceptable. but we are examining the facts to see if there were criminal iolations. >> are you also recused from the investigation out in maryland? >> i'm not going to comment on that. >> attorney general holder, with the i.r.s., a lot of americans don't trust the administration right now. what assurance can you give them that they can trust you?
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>> to the extent that we have determined that actors in government have gone beyond, have broken regulations, broken rules, we have prosecuted people, held people accountable. we have tried to do things according to the rules. there are going to be people occasionally who will not do so. it has been incumbent on us who have enforcement responsibilities to make sure we hold those people accountable. i think our record shows over the past four and a half years we have done that. that regulations require the -- that it be drawn as narrowly as possible, where trfs a two-month phone review, is that a narrowly drawn request? >> the deputy attorney general has written a letter in response to the a.p. address, that has a number of assertions in it to contradict the asergs that came
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from the a.p. i refer you to that with regard to response to that question. >> putting together the a.p. story, the i.r.s. story, the failure to close guantanamo, there are, there's a growing sense that this administration's record on civil liberties has not lived up to the promises that you and others made looking in 2008 and broadly at the administration's civil liberties record are you disappointed? and why hasn't more been done? >> i'm proud of what we have done. the policies that we put in place with regard to, let's say, the war on terror, we decided that certain interrogation techniques were not going to be used, we have been, i think, very aggressive in our enforcement of the civil rights laws. there have been a whole host of things that this administration has done, this justice department in partticula
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are consistent with what i think the president campaigned on and what we promised at the beginning of this administration. >> the purposes that changed in the last administration, the president signed executive orders that continued what had lready happened. there are other examples where this administration is disappointed in the examples on the left and right do, you need to change course the same way the bush administration does? >> no, we're not. this administration has put a real value on the rule of law and our values as americans. i think the actions that we have taken are consistent with both. if one looks at, in a dispassionate way, what we have done in a whole variety of areas, i found a moribund civil rights division and that is a division now that brought record
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numbers of cases, protected record numbers of people, i would take issue with you with regard to how we have conducted the war on terror and with regard to interrogation policies. there were changes made by this administration. a repudiation of opinions that existed when we came into office. so we're talking about, i think, changes that were consistent with, as i said, what the president campaigned on and what we talked about early on. >> we expressed some concern about lack of transparency with regard to the drone program and promised more transparency, what are you going to do about it? >> we are in the process of speaking to that. i made a promise, that's a promise i think will be kept, both by me and by the president in a relatively short period of time. we have a rollout that will be happening relatively soon. >> the phone record, the a.p.
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notification for phone records because of the justice department's internal regulations, those regulations don't speak to email records, based on the briefings either at the time or now that it's come out, can you see whether email records, including contents of email records that may be older than six months were accessed as part of this investigation? >> you'd have to refer to the let that the deputy attorney general prepared. it actually is i think, everyone has seen it in draft form but it is pretty specific as to times, dates in which things were acquired and what actually was acquired but it's all in the letter that the deputy terning sent back to the a.p. >> this is the first time we've had the chance to speak to you since the boston marathon bombings. y evidence so far that the attacks re-- the attackers received training and support
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from russia? >> that investigation is ongoing, i don't want to comment too much on it. i will note that the f.b.i. director was in moscow last week, we've gotten good cooperation from the russians. but we're exploring everything in connection with that matter. >> are you the only news organization that got the records subpoenaed? >> again, that will be for the deputy attorney general and u.s. ttorney to respond to. >> can you say whether as a general matter it's possible to conduct a thorough investigation of leaks of classified information that appear in the media without taking some of these investigative steps? >> the department of justice regulations say you have to exhaust all the other possibilities before you engage in interacting with the media. and so it is possible to do investigations in that way.
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but each investigation is different and as i said, i'm confident knowing the people here but not knowing the facts, that the decision to do what they did here was consistent with their having exhausted all the other possibilities. >> how many people within the department have been accused and does it include the f.b.i. director, since he was interviewed? can you give us the totality of all that happened at the same time? >> i think i'm probably the only one -- i don't know, enge i'm the only person who was recused and i did so out of the abundance of caution because i would have been the person leading the investigation and it seemed to me, having been interviewed, having knowledge of the matter and interacting with the press, it seemed to me probably better for me to step out. z you had a strongly worded defense of using the federal course system in terrorism case
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this is weekend. you also expressed a lot of regret about guantanamo earlier in your term. is it your desire to make another push to transfer prisoners back to the united states and send people through the federal court system? >> i think we ought to use our federal court system, it's proven effective as a place to convict people who are charged with terrorist related offenses and also a place where we can get valuable intelligence and what we're going to try to do is close guantanamo. the president indicated it's too expensive, it's a recruitment tool for terrorists, it has a negative impact on our relationship with our allies, so we're going to make a renewed effort to close fwauntaun moe. >> will there be a new senior official in the white house or elsewhere to work on closing guantanamo? >> we're working on that now, looking at candidates. >> why was the a.p. case different than other leaks
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investigations that you have been involved work i know you're not managing the investigation per se but you describe this as different. what made it different in your estimation and why did it require such an extensive sweep of material? >> i'm not sure about the sweep, but i do know enough about the -- about what what was compromised as a result of that leak and on the basis of that knowledge, that is -- that gives me the ability to characterize it as as serious a matter as i said it was. >> on the i.r.s. matter what statutes potentially may have been violated? >> we'll have to get you that. there are a variety of statutes within the i.r.s. code that i'm not familiar with or have the ability to, you know, give you the numbers to but we have looked at. in addition, there are other things that we will be looking
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at as well. >> with boston and benghazi and the i.r.s. and this, it seems involved in a. is lot of stuff, only a few months is until mueller's tenure over, would you comment on the search for a replacement director? >> we have reached out to candidates and the process is under way. >> thank you very much. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2013] >> the u.s. house gavels in for legislative work in about half an hour, taking up three bills, one dealing with a blue alert system that a-- for crimes against police officers. another with internet governance. late they are week a bill that would repeal the 2010 health care law and an s.e.c. bill to
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require the securities and exchange commission to acquire a cost benefit analysis before implementing now regulations. looking at our primetime schedule on the c-span networks, here on c-span, following the house, reaction to the justice department's decision, you heard about, allegedly, the alleged targeting of political groups by the i.r.s. on c-span2, a hearing on a rule that would provide cable groups to provide certain subscription so people pay for channels they actually watch. nd a proposal to lower the level from . to .5.
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and now, the senate judiciary immigration bill, you can follow it live on c-span3 or online. earlier on the house side, republicans who opposed the immigration bill they talked about the portion of the bill that allows undocumented immigrants to apply for citizenship. his is half an hour. >> good morning, appreciate you being here. we ordered up a nice day for an outdoor press conference so we could look at the capitol in the background and talk about the immigration bill, i'm congressman steve king, i represent iowa's fourth congressional district. about three or four weeks ago, some of us were in discussion wondering when the conservatives were going to speak up on this amnesty bill that was unfolding in the united states senate and that was being, i'll say put
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together, behind the scenes in the house. congressman lou barletta and i had a conversation on the floor that started a meeting that we had and about six people were -- arrived at that meeting to discuss how we were going to protect and defend the rule of law. from that time, we have had several other meetings, done a little bit of other press and pledged to ourselves we were going to do one-minute floor speeches, op-ed's, press releases to get the message out that there's another viewpoint, it's not the one being stampeded in the senate and maybe stampeded in the house. so i would just submit to you that i have said on the -- i have sat on the immigration subcommittee, i'm into my 11th year. i don't know how many have spent more time studying this issue than i have. there are likely a few, one of them is lamar smith, the author of the 1996 immigration reform act and just the most recent past chairman of the judiciary committee. he sends his regrets, he would
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very much like to be here, he has a pinched nerve in his back that disallows him to be here today. as is the case for lou barletta who badly wanted to be here and cons make the transportation work out. he'll be passing out a letter that he wanted to submit but both of those gentlemen wanted to join their support in this press conference. would make this point that, the 844-page bill over in the senate, whether amended or not new york what wayings we can p an isties pate it might be, is still a terrible idea if you look at frit an economic perspective. at no stage in their lives do -- does the universe of those who would receive amnesty make a net financial contribution to this country. at no stage. not a single year out of all those years. and that's off of heritage foundation's report, robert rector's report, which many of you are familiar. with it destroys the rule of law. and the rule of law is an ep sensual pillar of american
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exceptionalism. many people come here because we have equal justice under the law. if we reward people who break the law, they are unlikely to raise their children to respect it. the rule of law, at least with regard to immigration, would be destroyed and the promise of the law being enforced from this point forward, i don't know how we can listen to that with a straight face. we remember the 1986 amnesty act, and there were six after that smaller ones that didn't make the news so much, and they were promises for the next group that would be amnestied. this group of 11.3 million they're calculating will be bigger than they say, that always has been the case. it was roughly going to be a million in 1986. it became three million in 1986. this number will be larger, it's predicted to be 33 million by the time you add in legal and illegal and i think that number perhaps grose from there. the assimilation that's been an important part of network is a different scenario than we have had in the past.
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i've noticed that the people for open borders aren't really the embracers of assimilation. assimilation is what has made america great, the giant melting pot. i'm for that. i want to see people co-mingle and intermingle and embrace what i call cultural continuity, the american culture and civilization. they promise about learning englishering it's easy to follow through with the promise, let's pass the official english bill. they don't do that because they're not serious. it doesn't take into consideration the illegal drugs that come across the southern border tavepls promise to secure the border, not much of a promise but a prom. 80% of the illegal drugs consumed in america come in through mexico. i can secure this border with the resources that we have in less than five years if you gave me janet napolitano's job and the president didn't tie my hands. the resources are there. they are not serious. we can't take these people
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seriously because the people on the other side of the aisle want amnesty for a number of reasons, the biggest one, it's a big political boost for them. i don't understand why republicans think it's a good idea but somehow they've bought into this idea. from a national security standpoint we know we have large numbers and those large numbers, it's a quantity final number in a way, some of is class final, system is quantity final, that flow across the southern border that come here to do us harm. the big question i would pose is, why, why is that 844-page bill, why is it good for america or americans? i can't get that answer on why it's good for us but perhaps some of my colleagues do have some answers to that. i suspect they have some criticism and i'd like to first introduce the gentleman from texas, my good friend, louie gohmert. >> thank you. appreciate your coming out because this is a very, very critical issue for this country. we are a land of immigrants.
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native americans but then the thing i loved that i saw the day after the worst attack in american history, as people fwathered around in courthouse squares like we did in my hometown, we held hands, we sang together, we prayed together, and as i looked around the rcle at all races, creeds, colors, we had all types of folks there but that day on 9/1/2001, there was no hyphenated americans anywhere. we were all simply americans. that came from people imgrating and becoming one people. numb. bus ewe -- e pluribus unum. from one, many. when we ignore the rule of law, we become like countries that many immigrants are fleeing because the rule of law, if it's
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not observed, then you have chaos and so you have to come to a country where the rule of law is enforced, the only thing worse is to come and say, now that we're here, we want you to ignore the rule of law that made you a much stronger country than wherever we came from, but then by ignoring the rule of law, you disintegrate into the same type of chaos from which these people came. there are, we've been told there may be a billion, billion and a half people in the world who would like to come to america. why? because we are fair. overall, we're a good people a fair people, an exceptional country. and we enforce the rule of law across the board. but if we fail to do that, if we say we have a president and it's not just confined to this president, the last president didn't sufficiently secure the border, but if we have a president who holds hostage his
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obligation to protect the country and to secure the borders and be sure you understand, nobody behind me or that supports our position wants a closed border. immigration is a life spring. it brings additional life and rejufe nation to this country, it's a good thing. but we have to make sure we don't get overwhelmed by people that want to destroy us and for those who have made fun of me for commenting that we had radical islamists that came across our border trying to blend in with hispanics, all they needed to do was get off their lazy rears and do a little research and they'd find out 2459 director of the f.b.i. has previously testified before our mmittee that you had radical islamists who adopted
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hispanic-sounding names, would go to places like mexico, get identification papers, and then try to blend in as if they were latin americans or hispanic americans and come across our border. we have an obligation to this country to make sure that those coming in want to be a part of the greatest nation and are willing to asim lit and be a part and not destructive of this country. and that also includes an enforcement of the visa overstays which over 40% of the people illegally here apparently have overstayed visas. you have people in boston who had overstayed visas yet they were not being checked. and if the f.b.i. does not have e resources to check one individual who russia has given us a heads up on is radicalized and wanting to harm america, then do you think the system will be better for we add 11
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million more people all of a sudden, instantaneously, for the f.b.i. to check out and make sure they're not going to be a threat? there will be threats involved in that, just as we saw in boston when we had people who were linked to either terrorists or terrorism, that were questioned and even one saudi wanting to be deported. it is a danger to this country. so let me also say, for a president to say, i'm not going to secure the border, which is his swrn obligation to protect his country, unless you give legal status to millions of people, it does a couple of things. number one, as i've heard from sheriffs and border patrolmen, it has become a magnet. some of you have reported, we've three or four or five times more people coming across our border just because of the talk of potentially amnesty if they can
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get over here. they say, yeah, but we'll require proof. in the past we've seen proof be composed of an affidavit signed by the individual say, yeah, yeah, i came by the time you said i had to be here. we have to first secure the order, so only people lawfully coming in are coming in. we need to reform our immigration system. it shouldn't take longer to get a visa here than it does in a third world country, we're better than that. but when this president -- for this president to say, i won't secure the border unless you give legal status to all these people would be hypothetically like some random president saying, hey, media, if you don't write these stories, i'm going to be going into your phone records on a regular basis until you start, just hypothetically or say, hey, groups, you better get off my back or we're going to harass you with the i.r.s. none of us would stand for that,
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right? so why would we stand for a president who is saying i won't secure the border properly until you give legal status. let's secure the border and then work out an immigration package like that. thank you. >> next up, john fleming of louisiana. >> thank you, steve. woe know gentlemen, the united states is a nation of imgrants, a nation of immigration. it is also a nation of laws. and we are here today to celebrate legal immigration. that is what we should do. however, i completely disagree with the bill percolating in the senate today. it's often said that the history of the -- history is the best determiner of the future. what has history told us in? in 1986 we passed amnesty and now we have a bigger problem today than we did then.
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because that bill promised amnesty but it also promised secure borders and we've yet to see those. also, i'm told it's 844 pages. when in recent years have we passed such a large bill and had a good outcome? i'll give you obamacare and dodd-frank as examples of that. i think we need to tear this thing up and start from the beginning. we need to go back, meet in our committees, go through the process and first and foremost we should pass a law that secures the borders first. second, we should pass a law and mesh it with technology to be unlawful the 40% of immigrants who are here today as a result of overstays from their visas are properly tracked. once we do that, i think we can open up a dialogue about what we should do in america today with
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those who are here unlawfully. but i suggest to you today that it's not through a giant bill that we know is just full of promises and full of contingencies when in fact we're not even fulfilling and enforcing the laws we have today. so i look forward to working with my colleagues on this side, to create some good legislation. bills that with can be proud of. thank you. -- that we can be proud of. thank you. >> next up, a real arizona physician, dr. paul gosar of arizona. >> well, good morning. i also start the conversation by, trust is a series of promises kept. why would we have trust in a big bill america knows is riddled with problems. wh w is we need to have an immigration policy. it starts with border security, like what you see in yuma, arizona. it actually works and we need to reward great behavior and emulate what works.
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we also have to look at what legal immigration actually works for. i want to make sure we're embracing proper legal immigration. i'm a product of legal immigration. both my grandparents came from europe through ellis island. so we are a great melting pot of people. the second thing i would like to say is, when we look at the metrics, i think what all americans want is, we've got limited resources, so i'm not comfortable having homeland security, janet napolitano, dictate what is security, i think we use states rights, federal agencies and local municipalities to help us. what we do on our southern border we do on our northern border and we do in our ports. it all works together. before we go anywhere further we have to reform entitlement programs. if we don't we'll certainly break them with what's being proposed in the senate. let's break it up into smaller bills, let's bring it in front of the american public and hear
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their voice. as a physician, as a dentist, what hurts, what helps, and how do we include the public? thank you very much. >> next up is a gentleman, when i first talked to him when he came to the congress, i knew he understood the constitution and rule of law and lives by it, moe brooks of alabama. >> thank you, steve. in each of the past five years, 620,000 to 1.5 million foreigners have been given american citizenship. no country on earth comes close to being as generous as america is with its citizenship. the immigration issue is not about whether america is compassionate and generous. the immigration issue is whether america has the financial resources to accept all the world's immigrant into america. there are hundreds of millions of foreigners who, if they could, would immigrate to america. for example, in april, 2013, a
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pew center poll revealed that 20% of all mexicans said they will illegally immigrate to america if they can get away wit and 15% said they would immigrate to america if they could lawfully do so. that's 38 million people from just one country who want to immigrate to america. america suffers from four consecutive trillion dollar deficits and a soon-to-be $17 trillion accumulated debt. unless america changes its financial path, america will suffer a debilitating insolvency and bankruptcy that will usher in one of the worst three or four eras in american history. america's immigration policies must reflect america's fire financial condition. america must limit immigration based on how many immigrants a year our economy can absorb. two, limit immigrants to net tax producers. i.e., those people who have --
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who we have confidence in that will generate more in taxes than they consume. because they have, these people, valuable skill sets that the onomy needs, two --, two advanced deegg and intellect to support our high tech and other intellect -- intellect chal driven industries and three, skills to generate new jobs in america. finally, we must enforce our immigration laws whatever the consensus may be in congress on what they should be. the president and the senate's gang of eight push an amnesty bill that fails all these tests. it gives amnesty to people whose first step on american soil was illegal caught. it -- conduct. it costs american taxpayers $6.3 million. it does not secure the borders. it relies on the president who has proven he believes he's above the law and has no intention of securing america's borders or enforcing america's immigration laws. america cannot afford to open
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massive immigration flood gates y more than it can afford an amnesty plan while adding $6.3 trillion to america's already dangerous and exploding national debt a debt i might add that is already significantly damaging america's economy and national security. i can't speak for anybody else but i can speak for myself. i cannot in good conscience ratify illegal conduct with my vote. under no circumstance will i support the president and senate gang of eight's amnesty plan. thank you. >> next up, another gentleman from texas who stands strong on every issue he takes a stand on, steve stockman. >> i think this bill is fundamentally to our hispanic friends who follow the law, to lebanese who follow the law, to all those who came here legally,
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it's unfair to them. they have a gang of eight, we're going to have a gang of millions as this bill processes through the house of representatives. it will fail because the people are stronger than the fwng of eight. we have a gang of millions behind us. you watch this bill is not going to, it's nearly 900 pages, it's going to fail on its own merit and we'll modify it and make it better and treat whose to -- those who came here legally with respect and degreenyity. we can't tell those who came here legally, we're going to allow these people to break the rules. i'm going to fight to defend the country. thank you. >> thank you, steve. i'll make a statement here before we turn it over to questions. i want to express to you all how bad this bill is. some of us have dug down through it and read significant parts of it and some of us have also gone through, the people that have taken it apart piece by piece and tite bill title, which is
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going on supposedly in the senate. we will not get an open debate on this bill unless we organize an open debate in some other venue than the united states congress. it will be set up in a different way, we'll get a bedebate all right here in the house of representatives but it won't be an open one that gets -- lets us get down and take it apart piece by piece. it grants amnesty to everybody who is here. it sends an invitation to everybody who has been deported in the past and says to them, reapply because it's the real -- we really didn't mean it clause in there. reapply to come back to the united states. and there's an implicit promise that everybody who comes here after the deadline if they get here after the deadline, will get amnesty. that's the package. everybody here, everybody deported, everybody with gets here, all will get it unless they're convicted of a felony and we'll come across them later. nobody is coming out of the shah coes -- shadows who doesn't want to come out of the shadows. the people they think will be
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sported out of the shadows, felons aren't going to come out and register. but here's how bad it is. you know how badly i despise obamacare, i've spent years of my life fighting against obamacare, i've stood here many, many times and done that. i despise the bill because it's an unconstitutional taking of our body, our health, our skin an everything inside it. it's terrible. it diminishes the destiny of america. but if i have to choose between accepting if i came down to this, if it was somehow there was an offer that said you're going to get one or the other and you have to choose one, i would take obamacare and try to live with that before i'd ever accept this amnesty plan. because the amnesty plan is far, far worse than obamacare. that genie cannot be put back in the bottle. we can repeal obamacare, we can over time pay for it, we can get back doctor-patient privilege. but if this goes through,
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there's no going back. the fwmbings enie will be out of the bottle and you will not get him back in that bottle. we will have to live with this in perpetuity, not the thing envisioned by ronald reagan or the founding fathers. i remember reading an article by ed reese who said if reagan had the opportunity to do amnesty over again, he wouldn't make the same mistake. questions? [inaudible] >> i don't have thehnical expertise to determine the best way to secure the border or when it's fully secured. what i would do if i were on that committee is, i would ensure that those who do would
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testify, would give us that information, we would follow that pathway and then and only then, when we have come to that decision, made that law and fully implemented it, would i then move forward on anything dealing with those who were here unlawfully. >> what about metrics, measuring, the success rate? >> well, remember, what this bill does is it says, we're going to get to the secure borders but right now we're oing to take care of the 11-plus million who are here unlawfully and it's just full of con tin genesis, full of triggers. i think the goal is 90%. that's the goal. now, look, right now, our goal is 100% protection of the border and we're not coming close. so we're going to lower the bar and create more difficulties and expect somehow we'll meet even a lower goal?
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so i suggest again we go back to the beginning and we say, let's raise the bar back up to 100% protection of the border, come up with a metric, follow through on the program that, as i understand it, have already been in place but never fully implemented and then and only then do we move forward with anything else, except, of course, for track of those who are overstaying their visas. we can do that simultaneously. >> we know historically what has worked before. historically i'm not a big fan of woodrow wilson but we know after pancho villa came across and killed american families, woodrow wilson did secure the border. he put thousands of american troops on the border, a new thing calls national guard, many of them. they secured the border. nobody came across the united states didn't want across.
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it can be done. wiffs a sheriff from arizona who was saying that very thing. he was part of a reserve unit, they secured their sector. it can be done. and as steve said earlier this president has the ability, he has the manpower, he has the money, he just doesn't have the will until he extorts what he wants. >> many republicans in your --ty have a watershed moment inaudible] >> i'm incredulous with the condition collusion they drew on the morning of september 306789 they said, president elect would have been president if he didn't say self-deport. is it that sense ty an issue to stand up for the rule of law and the data that gos completely
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contrary to the allegations they have made, they've fallen back, since they know that this is a huge boon for democrats. they have known that for a long time. in 2006 or so, on a day about like this, there were tens of thousands over on the west lawn of the capitol, teddy kennedy went out before them and said through an interpreter a spanish interpreter, he said some say report to be deported. i say report to become an american citizen. i saw that live on c-span, i wasn't standing next to him that day but that was the message which, we're going to recruit all you folks we're giving amnesty to, to become democrats. they know that. they are working to establish another monolithic